The week ahead: White Sox, Red Sox
The Rangers take a much needed day off Monday before a week filled with Sox -- the Chicago White Sox and then baseball's best team, at least record-wise, the Boston Red Sox.
A Rangers offense that went cold over the weekend and didn't hit with runners in scoring position on a road trip to Anaheim and Minnesota faces tough pitching matchups this week. They'll see Chicago's Chris Sale and Jake Peavy, and Boston's Jon Lester.
White Sox start slow: Chicago is 10-14 to start the season, 4 1/2 games behind American League Central leader Kansas City. The White Sox are 3-7 on the road, having been swept by Washington and Minnesota. The White Sox are last in the AL with a .229 batting average and 83 runs scored. They are fourth in the AL with a 3.60 ERA (the Rangers are first with a 3.02 ERA, and the Red Sox are third at 3.39).
Pierzynski faces old team: Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who played for the White Sox from 2005 to '12, faces his old team for the first time in the regular season since signing as a free agent with the Rangers. Pierzynski helped the White Sox win the 2007 World Series. He had a .364 batting average against the White Sox when he played for Minnesota from 1998 to 2004. That, of course, was a long time ago. Pierzynski has warmed up to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, where he is batting .360 in seven home games.
Konerko moves up list: White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko hit his fourth home run of the season in Chicago's 8-3 loss to David Price and Tampa Bay. It was Konerko's 426th career home run, tying him with Billy Williams for 45th all time. Konerko has 14 RBIs but is batting only .235 with 19 strikeouts.
Red Sox rolling: The Red Sox finished off a four-game home sweep of the hapless Houston Astros to improve to 18-7, matching their best start since 2002. The Red Sox, who have Monday off, can set the club record for most victories in April with a win Tuesday against Toronto. Boston is getting lights-out pitching from its top three pitchers: Lester, Clay Buchholz and former Ranger Ryan Dempster, who are a combined 10-2 with a 1.99 ERA.
Ortiz back and hot: Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz is back and is one of the hottest hitters in baseball. He had two hits in Sunday's 7-2 victory over Houston, giving him a 20-game hitting streak dating to last year, the longest run going in the major leagues. Ortiz went 2-for-4 on Sunday, dropping his batting average to .516.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.