© 2010 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
Baseball fans sometimes get the feeling that their game is tilted toward the East Coast. Tending to agree these days are the Rangers, who definitely don't feel as though they're playing on a level playing field in the northeast.
Fresh off getting swept in New York, Texas lost Wednesday for the 13th time in its past 15 games in Boston on a night of typical attrition.
The Rangers finally got Josh Hamilton back in the home run column, only to lose their top slugger for the series finale against the Red Sox.
After having to leave the past two games before their conclusion with cramps in his right hamstring, Nelson Cruz and his seven homers are likely to sit out Thursday night.
David Murphy is expected to get the start in right field for the Rangers against right-hander Clay Buchholz.
"We'll just see how [Cruz] comes in, but he could really use the day," manager Ron Washington said.
The Rangers were one game out of the American League West lead when they hit the Bronx last Friday. Now they'll just try to get a win on their trip's final game before repairing to Arlington.
Boston will count on the most reliable Buchholz to get it to its first three-game winning streak of the season. The Red Sox have won 10 of the 12 starts Buchholz has made since last Aug. 19, a stretch during which his personal record is 7-2.
Buchholz doesn't have much in common with his mound opponent. C.J. Wilson is left-handed, is undergoing a career change after five seasons as a reliever and has never pitched a no-hitter -- something Buchholz did against Baltimore on Sept. 1, 2007, in his second Major League start.
But the one thing the two have shared is lack of support. Not the traditional kind, with the bat. But with the glove -- between them, Buchholz and Wilson have allowed five earned runs and seven unearned.
That's how they come into this matchup with just one win, despite a combined ERA of 1.96.
Rangers: Feliz lights up radar gun
Reliever Neftali Feliz was clocked at 101 mph on consecutive pitches on the Fenway Park radar gun on Wednesday evening. ... Satisfied with how he held up in a couple of running drills, second baseman Ian Kinsler (high right ankle sprain) left even before Wednesday's game for the club's Surprise, Ariz., extended spring camp to begin his rehab. ... Hamilton's homer was his first since Sept. 1, covering 58 at-bats.
Red Sox: Dice-K set to join crowded rotation
On deck, Daisuke Matsuzaka? Dice-K went 5 2/3 innings Wednesday night in his third and final rehab start with Triple-A Pawtucket, allowing three earned runs on four hits, striking out eight and walking none. ... The Sox will take the field in green uniforms Thursday night -- not to celebrate manager Terry Francona's 51st birthday, but in observance of Earth Day.
The Red Sox have recorded back-to-back walk-off victories for the first time since April 29-30, 2008, vs. the Blue Jays. ... Boston's bullpen has tossed 16 2/3 scoreless innings over its past three games. ... With three steals Wednesday night, the Rangers have now been successful on each of their past 32 steal attempts against the Red Sox since Chris Davis was caught on Aug. 14, 2008, at Fenway Park. ... Julio Borbon recorded his first career triple in the second inning of Wednesday's loss.