It's early September, and with their clubs in heated playoff races, all eyes will be on Texas starter Matt Garza and Pittsburgh hurler A.J. Burnett in the series finale Wednesday afternoon in Arlington.
It's no secret that both starters will be counted on to help get their teams into postseason play in October. Everyone also knows the veteran right-handers can pitch much better than they have lately.
Their resurgence could not come at a more crucial time. The Rangers trail the A's by two games in the American League West and lead the race for the AL Wild Card. The Pirates are one back of the Cardinals in the National League Central and lead the NL Wild Card standings.
For Burnett, he is coming off a three-inning outing at St. Louis, his shortest start since going 2 2/3 on May 2, 2012, also in St. Louis. A strong outing to complete the sweep of Texas could do wonders for his confidence.
"A.J. Is looking to get back out there," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He had a hard night against the Cardinals. He was leaving balls up, just wasn't sharp."
Burnett has already had a year to remember. He has four more starts to get three wins and reach double figures for a ninth straight season. He has successfully compensated for the slight drop in pitch movement and speed with sharper command.
As for Garza, he struggled in his last outing, allowing six runs (five earned) on nine hits in seven innings against the Angels. The right-hander has allowed four or more runs in six of his past seven starts.
"He just needs to minimize the damage, that's all," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "One inning in Anaheim got away. Other than that, he dealt. He's going to give up runs but a guy like that you don't expect to give up four or five runs in one inning. But he competes."
Pirates: McCutchen thriving against AL
• Andrew McCutchen is hitting .421 with 11 doubles, two triples, five home runs and 22 RBIs in his last 27 Interleague games.
• McCutchen is one home run shy of his third straight season with at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases. Barry Bonds, Al Martin, Andy Van Slyke, Dave Parker and Paul Waner have all accomplished the feat for the Pirates.
• The Pirates have won 11of their last 13 Interleague games and have gone 14-5 in Interleague Play this season.
Rangers: Darvish on track to start Saturday
• The Rangers expect Yu Darvish to pitch Saturday. He experienced some cramping in the seventh inning of Monday's game.
• Rangers outfielder Jim Adduci was available Tuesday after having to come out of Monday's game with a strained muscle in his right shoulder.
"False alarm," Washington said. "All of those muscles and one of them just let him know it was there."
• The Rangers have 19 steals in 20 attempts since Aug. 26.
• On the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Rangers will have a moment of silence in remembrance of Patriot Day on Wednesday. The 531st U.S. Air Force Quintet will perform the national anthem.
• The Rangers have a 47-26 Interleague record since the start of the 2010 season.
• Pittsburgh right-hander Charlie Morton is scheduled to face the Cubs on Friday at PNC Park. He left Sunday's start due to plantar fasciitis in his left foot. He's been cleared by a team doctor, but will throw a side session Wednesday at Rangers Ballpark to see if he's comfortable.
• The Rangers have been shut out nine times, the most since they were blanked 13 times in 2009.
• Texas' next win would secure its fifth consecutive winning season.