Each Thursday, we will look back at the week that was for the Texas Rangers and then preview the weekend series.
For the first time since June, your Texas Rangers won a series! Not only did they win two out of three against a team with a winning record, but it was the dreaded Yankees to boot. With the win, the Rangers remain one game behind Houston for fourth place in the AL West and hang on to their 0.1 chance of making the playoffs. The story of the series was J.P. Arencibia, who is hitting .255/.300/.617 with five home runs since his return from Round Rock. Yu Darvish and Colby Lewis also pitched well to earn their victories, and Neftali Feliz is slowly regaining his footing as the team's closer once again. This team has two months to show management what they are made of heading into the offseason.
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Cleveland officially announced themselves as sellers this week as they traded away Justin Masterson to the Cardinals. The Indians also traded infielder Asdrubal Cabrera to the Nationals before Thursday's deadline. The team currently sits in third place of the AL Central behind Detroit and Kansas City.
This year's team is all about offense as they are sixth in runs, 10th in batting average, ninth in on-base percentage and 10th in slugging. Leftfielder Michael Brantley is having a solid season, hitting .313/.374/.498 with 15 home runs. First baseman Carlos Santana leads the team with 20 home runs. Former Ranger David Murphy is struggling this season, as he is hitting .248/.310/.361.
The pitching staff ranks 17th in MLB with a 3.86 ERA and is led by Corey Kluber. Thankfully, the Rangers will miss Kluber on this trip as he is 11-6 with a 2.61 ERA this season.
6:05 p.m., Friday: RHP Jerome Williams (2-4, 5.53) vs. LHP T.J. House (1-2, 4.50)
Williams was sensational in his first start for Texas last Friday. Having been cast off by Houston in June, Williams went six innings, gave up five hits, one run and struck out four to help defeat the best team in baseball, Oakland, 4-1. Success may be short-lived as he had 14 flyball outs compared to only four groundball outs. To have success in Texas, you need to keep the ball down.
House began his MLB career on May 23 with a loss to Baltimore. He was drafted in the 16th round of the 2008 draft and was considered a top 20 prospect for Cleveland heading into the season. House primarily throws a 92 mph two-seam, slider and change. He's not big on strikeouts, but he induces a lot of groundballs.
6:05 p.m., Saturday: RHP Nick Tepesch (3-7, 4.84) vs. RHP Danny Salazar (3-4, 4.96)
Tepesch has four quality starts sandwiched by four poor starts going back to late June. Against Oakland, he gave up three runs in six innings, but took the loss as Texas fell 5-1. His 2014 ERA is identical to 2013, but his strikeouts are down, walks are up and his FIP (5.32) is atrocious. There are a lot of question marks with this rotation going into next season and Nick hasn't done enough to warrant a spot. Regression is afoot.
Speaking of regression, Salazar had a solid first stint in the majors in 2013 as he struck out 65 batters in 52 innings while maintaining a 3.12 ERA. This season he is still striking out hitters, but they are also hitting .294 against him. Salazar features a 95 mph four-seam fastball while sporting a plus changeup and decent slider.
12:05 p.m., Sunday: RHP Yu Darvish (10-6, 2.90) vs. RHP Trevor Bauer (4-6, 4.25)
Darvish was great against New York on Monday night as he went seven innings, gave up two runs and struck out eight hitters. It was a good end to a rough month for Yu (4.66 ERA in July). The last time he faced Cleveland, Darvish went seven innings and gave up four runs in a 6-4 win.
Bauer struggled in his last start against Seattle as he only went 4.1 innings and gave up five runs in a 5-2 loss. He faced Texas on June 6 and went 6.1 innings, gave up four runs and struck out six as he took the loss against Darvish.
Texas should make it two series wins in a row as they win two out of three against Cleveland. By the end of the weekend, Texas could be back in fourth place of the AL West.
Eddie Middlebrook also writes for Paranoid Fan as a MLB and College Football contributor. He can be on Twitter@emiddlebrook.