06/05/10 5:27 PM ET
Rangers go for sweep of Rays
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
Following Saturday's 6-1 victory against the Rays, the Rangers are 20-9 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and one win away from a three-game sweep.
Tampa Bay's Matt Garza has other plans. The right-hander did not have his best stuff Monday in Toronto, but he still managed to give the American League East-leading Rays a chance to win. He hopes to do the same against the Rangers in the series finale.
"[The Rangers] have been known to swing it and now they're pitching," Garza said. "So, like every day, it's going to be a battle for us because nobody's taking us lightly."
In his last start, Garza allowed two runs in the first inning and three overall in 6 1/3 frames for his fourth loss of the season. He is 3-3 with a 4.30 ERA in seven career starts against the Rangers, and is 1-3 with a 5.96 in four outings in Arlington.
The Texas heat will not bother Garza.
"No one likes it, but you have to deal with it," he said. "Where I'm from [in Fresno, Calif.], this is normal. For some reason, my body feels a lot looser in warm weather. Maybe it's where I grew up, the way my body's adapted over the years."
The Rangers will counter with Rich Harden, who leads the AL with 37 walks. The right-hander defeated the White Sox in his last start, but is still 1-0 with an 8.84 ERA in his past four outings. Overall, he is 1-0 with a 3.70 ERA in five starts in Arlington this season.
"At least he kept us in the ballgame," Rangers manager Ron Washington said.
For his career, Harden is 3-1 with a 4.94 ERA in five career outings against the Rays.
Rays: Shields pitching well
James Shields has been charged with three earned runs or fewer in all but two of his 12 starts this season. ... John Jaso became the first catcher in Rays' history to start a game in the leadoff spot Saturday. ... Recently signed Cuban stars, first baseman/outfielder Leslie Anderson and left-hander Sergio Espinosa, have been promoted from Class A Charlotte to Double-A Montgomery.
Rangers: Andrus on fire
Elvis Andrus has hit safely in 11 straight games and 30 of his last 33 contests to lift his batting average from .246 to .307. He has reached safely via hit or walk in 45 of his last 50 games. ... Rangers relief pitcher Pedro Strop was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Saturday after being recalled on Tuesday. ... Washington said he is expecting a fine after being ejected for the third time this season Friday night against the Rays.
The state of Texas has not been kind to the Rays. Tampa Bay is 1-7 at Rangers Ballpark since the start of last season and has been outscored, 64-27. Also, Rays starters have allowed 40 earned runs in 38 1/3 innings over those eight games, posting a 9.39 ERA while going 0-7 with one no-decision. ... Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler snapped an 0-for-16 drought with a leadoff single to start the seventh inning on Saturday.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.