Series Preview: Rangers/Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox are in town for a weekend series that will feature the Texas debut of international media sensation Daisuke Matsuzaka. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at the pitching matchups in this three game series.

Rangers (18-29) vs. Boston Red Sox (31-14)

Friday, 7:05 PM: Daisuke Matsuzaka (6-2, 4.06 ERA) vs. Brandon McCarthy (4-4, 5.82 ERA)

The almost mythical Daisuke Matsuzaka and his gyro ball arrive in Arlington tonight. He will be joined by the Boston Red Sox and the best record in baseball. After a rough outing on May 3rd in which he walked five batters, including three to start the game," Dice-K" has won his last three starts and is undefeated in his last six trips to the mound after a personal two game losing skid. On the road, he is 3-1 with a 2.77 ERA while the Boston offense has pounded out 55 runs in support of the right-hander. Suffice it to say, it will be the first time any member of the Rangers has faced Matsuzaka. From a worldwide crush of media standpoint, Brandon McCarthy has the dubious honor of being the guy who opposes Matsuzaka. He is now 3-0 with a 2.31 ERA over his last four starts and is holding opponents to a .202 batting average, but is 2-1 with a 6.23 ERA in three starts at home this year. In four career appearances against Boston, McCarthy has gone 1-1 with a 2.03 ERA and has held Red Sox hitters to a .170 average.

Saturday, 7:05 PM: Tim Wakefield (4-5, 3.14) vs. Vicente Padilla (2-6, 5.52)
In 14-4 victory on Monday against the Twins, Padilla picked up only his second victory of the season in 10 starts. At home, he's pitched much better than his high earned run average would indicate: 2-2, 3.04 at Rangers Ballpark In Arlington. In five career games against the Boston Red Sox, Padilla is 1-2 with a 4.70 ERA. Tim Wakefield was pounded by the Tigers on Tuesday to the tune of nine hits and five runs, two of them homers, over seven innings. Last month, the knuckleballer was the hard luck loser of a pitching duel with Robisnon Tejeda in the 2007 home opener for the Rangers. However, the loss dropped Wakefield to a record of 4-11 with a 5.63 ERA in his career against Texas.

Sunday, 2:05 PM: Julian Tavarez (3-4, 5.27) vs. Kameron Loe (1-4, 6.38)
Loe will enter Sunday afternoon's affair in desperate need of a turnaround on a season going south. Since a victory in his first start of the season on April 21 against Oakland, Loe is 0-4 with a 7.60 ERA in his last six starts. In his last three starts, he's surrended at least five runs each time. A massive amount of his issues on the mound come when runners are in scoring position, where the opposition is clobbering him for a .410 average. For the Red Sox, Tavarez has calmed down after a bumpy start to his season and has allowed just three runs over his last 12 and 2/3 innings. In his last start against the Yankees, Tavarez fought through some control issues and threw over 100 pitches in a short amount of time but still managed to pick up the win. However, with Josh Beckett returning from an injury his time in the Boston starting rotation may be numbered.

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