PHOENIX -- There is little doubt that Kevin Millwood is the ace of the Rangers' pitching staff, and that's why they want him out on the mound as much as possible.

That fact was evident when the Rangers switched him and Derek Holland for the opening of the three-game series with the San Diego Padres that begins on Friday at the Ballpark in Arlington. Millwood, who last pitched on Sunday in San Francisco, starts on Friday against the Padres. Holland, who started on Saturday, is being pushed behind Millwood and will start again this Saturday.

The switch allows the Rangers to get an extra start out of Millwood before the All-Star break. Beginning with Friday night, he'll get four starts instead of three.

In fact, the Rangers will use Millwood every fifth day, which means somebody else -- most likely Scott Feldman -- will likely get pushed back after next Thursday's off-day.

The distinction is important. By keeping Millwood pitching every fifth day, he will make his last start before the All-Star break on July 11 against the Mariners. If they use the off-day to get him extra rest, his final start will be on July 12.

The Rangers don't know if Millwood will make the All-Star team. But a start on July 12 would eliminate a chance of him pitching in the game if selected. Pitching on July 11 will allow him to be used in the All-Star Game, which is scheduled for July 14 in St. Louis.

"That would be a great thing for him," pitching coach Mike Maddux said. "He deserves it. Who else has pitched better?"

Millwood is 7-5 with a 2.62 ERA that was fifth in the American League going into Thursday's games. He was also second in innings pitched.

Pitching matchup
TEX: RHP Kevin Millwood (7-5, 2.62 ERA)
Millwood is 3-1 with a 0.94 ERA in his past four starts. He is 5-1 with a 2.08 ERA in eight starts at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Opponents are hitting .188 against him with runners in scoring position, including .111 with two outs. He is 5-1 with a 2.95 ERA against the Padres in 13 career starts and is 29-12 with a 3.01 ERA in 56 games, including 55 starts, in his career against the National League West.

SD: RHP Walter Silva (0-0, 6.00 ERA)
Silva wasn't especially sharp on Saturday against the A's, his first start since sustaining a forearm strain in April. Silva, recalled that day from Triple-A Portland, allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Silva had been on the disabled list for a month before being optioned to Portland. He rejoined the Padres before Saturday's start when Chris Young went on the DL with a strained right shoulder. This will be the first time Silva has faced the Rangers.

Tidbits
Eddie and Lisa Guardado will participate in the second-annual Autism Awareness Night on Friday. The couple will speak at a pregame event at the Coca-Cola Pavilion and will participate in the ceremonial first-pitch ceremony. Autism Awareness groups from throughout North Texas will take part. ... Michael Young and his wife, Cristina, will host special heroes from Wipe Out Kids Cancer for a dinner and pregame mixer on Friday. The Ambassadors and Young Hero Scholars will also be honored in a pregame field presentation. ... Rangers pitcher Vicente Padilla has not allowed a home run in his past three games and his 0.57 home runs per nine innings is the fourth-lowest in the league. He had the sixth-highest last year at 1.37 per nine innings.

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Up next
• Saturday: Rangers (Derek Holland, 1-4, 5.77) vs. Padres (Kevin Correia, 4-5, 4.26), 7:05 p.m. CT
• Sunday: Rangers (Matt Harrison, 4-5, 6.11) vs. Padres (Chad Gaudin, 3-6, 5.60), 7:05 p.m. CT
• Monday: Rangers (Vicente Padilla, 6-3, 4.48) vs. Angels (Sean O'Sullivan, 1-0, 3.00), 7:05 p.m. CT