The Texas Rangers own the best record in the American League but they have been unable to shake the surging Oakland Athletics, who are just four games back in the AL West. Coincidentally, the Rangers will open a three-game series Friday night at Cleveland, which is coming off a four-game home sweep at the hands of the Athletics. Texas has won nine of its last 12 games as it pursues its third straight division title and World Series appearance.
The Cleveland Indians have skidded into oblivion with a miserable August that ranks among the worst months in franchise history. Losers of five straight games and 14 of 15 overall, Cleveland has also had losing streaks of nine and seven games in compiling a woeful 5-23 record this month. The offense started to show signs of life and put up 11 runs in the final two losses to Oakland following a nine-game stretch in which the Indians failed to score more than three runs.
Rangers Indians Betting
When: 7:05 PM ET, Friday, August 31, 2012
Where: Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, KTXA (Arlington), STO (Cleveland)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rangers RH Ryan Dempster (3-1, 5.46 ERA) vs. Indians RH Ubaldo Jimenez (9-13, 5.58)
Dempster’s early impressions since a trade with the Cubs were hardly favorable after he was battered for eight runs in two of his first three starts, but he has turned the corner in winning his last two outings. Dempster beat Minnesota last time out, allowing two runs and eight hits, and limited Baltimore to one run on four hits in his previous start. He has not faced Cleveland since the 2006 season.
Much like his team, Jimenez is finding victories hard to come by, logging a 1-6 record and 7.96 ERA in his last nine starts. He was a loser to the New York Yankees in his last outing, giving up three runs in five innings. Jimenez has pitched seven innings only four times this season, the last time coming on July 2. He had his best outing of the year against Texas in May, allowing two hits in seven scoreless innings.
1. Rangers LF Josh Hamilton has five two-hit games in his last seven and needs to drive in two runs Friday for his fourth career 30-RBI month.
2. A loss in Friday’s series opener would match Cleveland’s franchise record for most losses in a month (24) set in 1914.
3. Rangers closer Joe Nathan is riding a franchise record-tying streak of 25 straight saves. He also has retired 14 straight batters, 10 via strikeout.