Rangers-Red Sox Preview
BOSTON -- It's been a strenuous 10-game road trip for the majors' best team, but the Texas Rangers are hoping to cap it off with a win against the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night.
Texas (53-32) reclaimed the top record in the league after the Chicago Cubs' 9-5 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.
Of course, they had to claim a victory of their own to make that happen.
That didn't turn out to be much of a problem, as the Rangers toppled the Red Sox for a 7-2 victory that brought them to 4-5 through the first nine games of their trip.
"It's key, especially going back home," Texas manager Jeff Banister said about the prospect of a win Wednesday. "Tough road trip, second 10-game road trip in a very short period of time -- I think 37-game stretch."
"To go home .500 (on the road trip) I think it would be a big momentum boost for us, to go back home, get in our ballpark and head on into the break."
The Rangers opened the trip with consecutive wins against the New York Yankees, but wound up splitting the four-game series.
Then they suffered a particularly embarrassing setback, dropping two of three games to the league-worst Minnesota Twins before taking a 12-5 defeat Monday against the Red Sox.
The team also had a 10-game trip from June 10-19, but they fared much better in that one with eight wins.
Boston (45-38) suffered its ninth loss in 15 games Tuesday, dropping it to third place in the American League East.
The team with six All-Stars -- four starters in David Ortiz, Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. -- could only muster a pair of runs against a team that has two -- Ian Desmond and Cole Hamels.
"Everybody's doing all right," said Bradley, who hit a solo home run Tuesday. "I don't think we are as bad as we're showing. We're definitely capable of putting together a good run. Hopefully that comes soon."
Perhaps the Red Sox's most unlikely All-Star will be the man taking the mound on Wednesday.
Right-hander Steven Wright (9-5, 2.42 ERA) has been the best pitcher on a staff that includes former Cy Young Award winner David Price and his mammoth $217 million contract.
The knuckleballer is 0-2 against the Rangers with a 5.23 ERA in two starts -- including a June 25 start in Arlington during which he allowed a season-worst eight runs (three earned) on seven hits in a 4 2/3 inning defeat.
Prince Fielder is 3-for-6 against Wright while Desmond is 1-for-3 with a solo homer.
Texas counters with left-hander Martin Perez, who held the Red Sox to one run on six hits and two walks with two strikeouts over six innings in a 6-2 victory on June 26.
Perez is 2-1 with a 4.91 ERA in four starts versus Boston. Ortiz is 2-for-6 with a solo homer against Perez while Pedroia is 3-for-11.