Series Preview: Rangers/Orioles

After a futile effort against Johan Santana that saw the Twins pitcher rack up 17 strikeouts, the Rangers take their game on to Baltimore for a three game series with the Orioles. Lone Star Dugout has your look at this week's matchup.

Rangers (54-69) at Orioles (57-65)

Monday, 6:05 PM: Vicente Padilla (3-8, 6.30) vs. Daniel Cabrera (9-12, 4.93)

After spending 47 days on the disabled list with a right triceps irritation, Padilla's first start since June 21st was a terrific one. Held to limit of 80 pitches, the Nicaraguan native allowed four hits and one unearned run while racking up eight strikeouts against the Kansas City Royals. On the road this season, Padilla holds a 1-5 record and a revolting 9.00 ERA in 40 innings of work. In four career games, including three starts, against the Orioles, Padilla is 2-2 with a 4.34 ERA.

The off and on season of Daniel Cabrera continued last week when he held the Yankees scoreless over 6 2/3 and allowed just two hits for his ninth win of the season. The victory marked only the eighth time in his 26 starts he has held opponents to less than three runs. That win came after an August 9th pounding when righty allowed seven runs on eight hits in a loss to the Seattle Mariners. Control hasn't always been a friend to Daniel Cabrera, and following a 104 walk campaign last year, the 26-year old has 86 walk in 2007 and is on track to lead the league in free passes once again this season.

Tuesday, 6:05 PM: Edinson Volquez (0-0, -.--) vs. Erik Bedard (12-4, 2.98)
After starting over and rising through the ranks of the minor leagues, the bus stops Tuesday night when he gets the call for Game 2 in Baltimore. He started out 0-4 with a 7.13 ERA in seven games at Class-A Bakersfield but was 8-1 with a 3.55 ERA at Double-A Frisco and went 5-1 with a 1.89 ERA in six starts at Triple-A Oklahoma. But perhaps more notable than any record, Volquez had 35 walks and 112 strikeouts 96 1/3 innings with Frisco and Oklahoma.

With the way things have gone for the Texas Rangers this season, it seems only fitting that Volquez would draw the major league leader in strikeouts as his opponent in his first big league start of 2007. Last week against the Yankees, Erik Bedard fanned eight batters to increase his Major League-leading total to 207, and pitched well enough for his 13th victory of the year but was let down by his bullpen. Bedard is also 6-0 in his past nine starts, and with the third-best ERA in the American League, is making a serious case for a his first ever Cy Young Award.

Wednesday, 6:05: John Rheinecker (1-1, 5.82) vs. Garrett Olson (1-2, 6.38)
Depending on how successful Volquez's first outing goes, the Rangers will have to make a decision on what to do with either John Rheinecker, or fellow rotation-mate Kameron Loe. At this point, the club seems more interested in seeing what Rheinecker can do and will likely move Loe to the bullpen if things go well on in Wednesday's start. Although he's 0-1, Rheinecker owns a 3.38 ERA in his last two starts and is now 5-6 with a 6.04 ERA in 19 career Major League starts.

Rookie Garrett Olson breezed through the first two innings of his last start against the Blue Jays without so much as a hiccup. But the wheels fell off his outing in the third, and Olson allowed the first six batters of the inning to reach base. The big blow of the inning came in the form of a three-run blast off the bat of Frank Thomas. It was only the fourth outing in the major league career of the club's top pitching prospect, and it was also the shortest. He's also faced some control problems in the big leagues: In 18 1/3 innings in, Olson has issued 18 walks. But in 22 starts for Triple-A Norfolk, he walked just 39 in 128 innings.

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