Apr 29, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Tampa Bay Rays right fielder Ben Zobrist (18) is ruled safe as Texas Rangers second baseman In Kinsler (5) applies the late tag during the 8th inning at Rangers Ballpark. The Rays beat the Rangers 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE
The Rangers will try to cushion their AL West-lead in a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays who are in the thick of the playoffs race in the AL East.
With back-to-back wins and three straight losses for the Oakland A's, the Rangers have earned themselves some breathing room, although the race for the AL West title is still far from theirs. With 25 games to play, the Rangers have to hold off the A's and the red-hot Angels if they hope to carry the American's League top seed into the playoffs.
They can start on Friday when they take on the Tampa Bay Rays who suddenly find themselves in the thick of the AL East race. In game one of a three-game series that will have huge playoff implications, the Rangers will start Derek Holland against Jeremy Hellickson of the Rays.
Holland has won each of his last three starts, including his tenth win of the season on Sunday when he allowed two runs to the Indians through seven innings. While Holland has allowed 12 runs in his last four starts, he has been the beneficiary of run support as the Rangers have scored a combined 36 runs in those four games.
Hellickson, on the other hand, has lost back-to-back starts with similar stats as Holland due to the Tampa Bay offense only providing him with three runs in support.
The first pitch on Friday night at Tropicana Field is scheduled to be thrown at 6:10 p.m. CT and will be televised on KTXA and Sun Sports.
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