08/18/10 11:51 AM ET
Rangers hoping to reverse AL East fortunes
By Bailey Stephens / MLB.com
After getting swept by the Rays, looming next on the Rangers' schedule is a trip to Baltimore for four games with the resurgent Orioles, who are playing a much stronger brand of baseball under new manager Buck Showalter.
The Rangers know Showalter well. He managed the club from 2003 to '06.
"[Rangers general manager Jon Daniels has] done a great job there," Showalter said. "Had a lot of things come together for them. The arrows pointing up so much with the ownership and everything getting rectified. They are going to be tough to the beat in the postseason."
The O's swept the Rangers earlier this season, and Texas is 4-12 in AL East parks this season -- all four wins came at Fenway Park. It's the club's first trip to Baltimore this season, but it couldn't have come at a tougher moment.
The Orioles are 10-6 in 16 games under Showalter, which qualifies as their best stretch of baseball since 2008.
Regrardless of the Orioles' recent success, the Rangers are going to have to find a way to start generating some wins against the AL East, a tough set of teams that they are likely to encounter at least one of in the playoffs.
Their Thursday starter, right-hander Colby Lewis, has been unsuccessfully doing everything he can to earn the club a win of late, carrying a 2.75 ERA in his past five starts -- all winless. During his outings, his team has provided just four runs of support.
"It is what it is," Lewis said. "You just roll with the punches. I'm used to one-run games. Last year I was 11-9 in Japan with a [2.96] ERA. That's the way it goes. If you do what you can to keep your team in the game, you're doing your job. That's the way it is."
But its a problem the Rangers most definitely have to remedy if they plan to play deep into October against the big guns of the AL East.
Rangers: Young taking injury hour by hour
Rangers third baseman Michael Young was out of the lineup again for Wednesday's finale against the Rays due to stiffness in his neck. His status for the upcoming series in Baltimore isn't yet known, but the veteran is getting frustrated watching from the bunch.
Without Young, the Rangers lost three consecutive to the Rays. He'll be pushing to return as fast as possible, but in the meantime, he's undergoing intensive heat and electrical therapy.
"It's a day-to-day thing now, or I guess you could say it's an hour-by-hour deal," said Young, who missed just his third game of the season on Tuesday. "It's still stiff, and I'm trying to be patient as much as I can."
Orioles: Matusz trying to control big inning
The Orioles have young Brian Matusz on the hill to kick off the series. He will continue to build off what has been an up and down year for the left-hander.
He's still struggling somewhat with controlling the big inning, but in his past three outings he's 1-1 with a 3.94 ERA. Despite some struggles, Matusz said after his last start that he feels he's making continual progress.
"It's the big inning that has really killed me this year in my bad starts," Matusz said. "But [Saturday], I didn't feel like that was the issue. I felt like I was composed and had it slowed down, I felt like I was in control."
Rangers right-hander Rich Harden, who went on the disabled list Aug. 15 with tendinitis in his shoulder, was scheduled to make a rehab start Tuesday for Triple-A affiliate Oklahoma City, but he was pushed back until Wednesday.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.