4/16 - Keys to Victory

A weekend series in Seattle that began promising quickly turned ugly with bad losses to a Western Division foe. Now, the Rangers move on to the Windy City to try and resurrect the last half of their road trip.

Texas Rangers (5-7) at Chicago White Sox (5-6)

Pitching Matchups

Tuesday, 7:11: Robinson Tejeda (1-1, 4.50 ERA) vs. Jon Garland (0-0, 3.65 ERA)
Wednesday, 7:11: Kevin Millwood (2-1, 3.71 ERA) vs. Mark Buehrle (0-0, 4.32 ERA)
Thursday, 7:11: Vicente Padilla (0-3, 6.82) vs. Javier Vasquez (1-0, 0.00)

Series Facts:
Frank Catalanotto is a lifetime .352 hitter at U.S. Cellular Field...Mark Teixiera is a career .311 hitter (42-135) vs. Chicago...Texas scored 20 runs in a game against the White Sox on 4/2/98

Keys To Victory

1. Keep their "O" reeling

The Rangers and White Sox have equally struggling offenses. As a team, the White Sox have a collective .222 batting average. The Rangers: .232. A team on-base percentage of .312 as opposed to .313 for Texas. Even the meat of the order for the White Sox (Thome, Konerko, Dye) combined have one less homerun than the American League Player of the Week, Ian Kinsler. Like the Rangers, eventually the bats of the White Sox will surely wake up. But with some good rebound pitching performances by Tejeda and Padilla, along with another quality start from Kevin Millwod, the Rangers have a shot at prolonging the hitting woes on the South Side.

2. Seventh inning and beyond
In order for this team to remain a threat, the offense must break out of the extreme hibernation it goes into late in games. After Sunday's lopsided loss to Seattle, the team batting average dropped to an abysmal .114 (12-105) from the seventh inning on. Like most worries on the offensive side of things, it's still far too early to get worried sick when it comes to stats such as this one. But if this team really wants to go on a hot streak, the offense has to wake up and not go into hiding during the later innings.

3. Shore up on defense
In yet another disturbing trend to compliment a mostly dormant offense through the first 12 games of the year, the Rangers have also committed nine errors in the field. Seven of those miscues have come via mental lapses from a usually sure-handed infield. On Saturday afternoon, mistakes by Hank Blalock and Ian Kinsler poured gasoline on a developing fire. As a result of them, the Mariner bats made Padilla and the Rangers pay. Shoring things up defensively will go far in improving the Rangers chances of coming out of Chicago with a series victory.

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