Texas opens up their three game set against the Chicago White Sox this evening, a series that the Rangers really need to win. Tonight marks the beginning of a string of 20 consecutive games without a day off. With Texas at 5-7, this three week stretch could make or break the Rangers.
As you may have heard, tonight marks the return of Sammy Sosa to Chicago. It will be his first appearance in the Windy City since he left the Cubs' season finale early at the end of 2004, just one of a series of events which led to him being traded to the Baltimore Orioles that following offseason. Although the Orioles visited the White Sox in 2005, Sosa was on the disabled list at the time and was not travelling with the team. Sosa is not expected to play in tonight's game against Jon Garland, with Ron Washington instead opting for Wilkerson in LF, Cruz in RF and Catalanotto at DH. While Sosa is 5 for 12 with a home run against Garland in his career, Sosa is batting just .175/.195/.325 this year with a pair of home runs.
Speaking of Garland, he threw seven shutout innings in his last start against Oakland. He also went 2-0 in 2006 against the Rangers, allowing just two runs in 13.2 innings. Not a real great omen.
2006 Rangers Minor League Player of the Year Nate Gold went on the disabled list today with a fractured finger. Additionally, infielder Desi Relaford was sent to AAA Oklahoma City from extended spring training. Perhaps the most interesting move is the signing of left-hander Onan Masaoka, who has been assigned to extended spring training. Masaoka put together a 4.23 ERA in 93.2 relief innings for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1999 and 2000, but disappeared shortly from baseball thereafter. According to The Baseball Cube, the Hawaiian 29-year-old last pitched in 2001. No idea what he's been doing for the last six years.
Can you guess which two Redhawks these pitching lines belong to?
6.1 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO
3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 SO
If you guessed Wes Littleton and Frankie Francisco, you'd be correct. Littleton gave up three singles last night, but worked around them to pitch two shutout innings. Needless to say, I think these guys will be back on the 25-man roster sooner rather than later. With Bruce Chen losing out on the #5 spot in the rotation to Kameron Loe, and the Rangers already having left-handers Ron Mahay and C.J. Wilson in the bullpen, Chen could find himself in Oklahoma City before long.
Robinson Tejeda takes the mound for Texas tonight. Let's hope he pitches more like he did against Boston and less like he did against Tampa Bay.
Tuesday, April 17th Game Preview
Texas Rangers at Chicago White Sox
Robinson Tejeda (1-1, 4.50 ERA) vs. Jon Garland (0-0, 3.65 ERA)
7:11 PM CST in Chicago, Illinois (U.S. Cellular Field)
TV: FSNSW | Radio: KRLD 1080 AM