The Rangers are, thankfully, home for the weekend.
Where they will be playing the number one team in baseball right now, the Tampa Bay Rays. (And spoiler alert? The final two games of the five-game home stand is the number two team in baseball, the San Francisco Giants.)
The Rays currently have a +67 run differential while the Rangers are at a -42. More bad news? Tampa Bay is actually better on the road than they are at home 20-9 on the road while they’re 15-13 at home. All this to say, they are not the same team that lost a four game series against Texas back in April.
Starting out the series on Friday, Kyle Gibson will make his return from the injured list. When Gibson faced them in April, he went six innings and gave up just one earned run on four hits and two walks. Josh Fleming, who made his 2021 debut against the Rangers, will start for the Rays. Fleming gave up just the one solo home run plus three additional hits in his five innings of work in a loss. Since then, Fleming is 5-3 with a 2.98 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in 45.1 innings pitched over four starts and nine total pitching appearances.
Kolby Allard will make his second start of the season on Saturday. He faced Tampa Bay from the bullpen in April and pitched a clean inning, striking out the side. This will be his second career start against them. In 2019, he gave up four runs on seven hits and three walks in four innings. The A.L. Pitcher of the Month, Rich Hill, will start for the Rays. Back in April, he gave up four runs on seven hits and two walks in 4.1 innings against the Rangers.
Closing out the season series against Tampa Bay, Dane Dunning will take the mound. Dunning pitched four innings of scoreless baseball against the Rays in April, and gave up just two hits and two walks, striking out five. Tyler Glasnow will start against the Rangers and give them trouble. In his last outing against them in April, Glasnow pitched 7.2 innings without giving up a run and just let up two hits and a walk while striking out 14.