05/20/10 6:35 PM ET
Cubs armed with extra hitter in Texas
By John Schlegel / MLB.com
For the Cubs and their manager, having an extra batter in the lineup under American League rules provides opportunity, as Piniella is searching for the hitters to get Chicago's offense rolling.
"We'll have the DH spot, so these guys will all get some at-bats, which is good," Piniella said. "That's one thing that's good. We'll be able to put an extra bat in the lineup."
Of course, so will the Rangers, and they like playing at home. Texas is off to a 17-7 start at Rangers Ballpark, ranking second by just one game to 1996 as the best 24-game start at home in franchise history.
The three-game series will kick off Friday with left-hander Ted Lilly taking the mound for the Cubs against Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis.
For Piniella, having the DH spot could mean giving a regular player a day off the field. Xavier Nady, who delivered a two-run single Wednesday, but then popped out in the seventh inning in pinch-hit appearances vs. the Phillies, is a candidate to get some DH at-bats, as well.
"We've been trying to shuffle as well as we can. But the idea that everybody wants to play and everybody gets some at-bats, that's all I'm trying to do," Piniella said. "What I look for more than anything else is consistent at-bats."
Cubs: Lilly has Texas experience
The Cubs will open the series with Lilly on Friday, and with his stints with the Yankees, A's and Blue Jays, he has ample experience pitching against the Rangers. Lilly has a career 4-4 record in 13 games (12 starts) against the Rangers -- 1-3 with a 4.73 ERA in six appearances in Arlington.
"I'm excited to go there," Lilly said. "It's fun to get a look at a lineup I'm not used to seeing, especially there in that ballpark. They've got some pretty talented hitters over there. I'm looking forward to the opportunity."
The series marks homecomings to Texas for center fielder Marlon Byrd, left fielder Alfonso Soriano and hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo.
Rangers: Young hitting and running, too
Michael Young has continued his hot hitting this week, delivering back-to-back games with three hits and going 2-for-5 Thursday night. After hitting just .156 after eight games, he's back among the league leaders in hits and multihit games. His hustle to stretch a hit to the shallow outfield into a double that sparked the Rangers' walkoff win Wednesday night impressed his manager. "That's what you call hustle," manager Ron Washington said. "That's coming out of the box hard as soon as the ball is put in play." ... Lewis is 0-2 in his last four starts, with the Rangers scoring just four runs while he was in the game during that stretch.
The Cubs and Rangers have met twice before in Interleague Play -- in 2002 and '07. Both times, the Rangers took two of three, at Wrigley Field in '02 and Rangers Ballpark in '07. ... The Cubs were 6-9 in Interleague Play in 2009, all against AL Central opponents. They are 90-97 overall against the AL. ... The Rangers were 9-9 in Interleague Play a year ago, with the pitching staff yielding a franchise-best 3.48 ERA vs. the NL for the season.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.