MLB Rangers, White Sox begin series looking for answers

Two teams seeking more consistent at-bats meet when the Texas Rangers and host Chicago White Sox begin a three-game series on Friday.

Texas has lost six of its last eight games, while Chicago has dropped eight of its past 12.

Second baseman Marcus Semien is hitting 11-for-21 (.524) during a five-game hitting streak for the Rangers, who began the week by losing two of three to the Cleveland Indians.

After watching Texas go a combined 0-for-15 with runners in scoring position during the series, manager Chris Woodward wants his team to focus on the fundamentals.

“We just haven’t walked very much; we haven’t driven pitches in the middle of the plate like we normally do,” Woodward said. “We’ve got to get back to doing those things. That’s the only way you can score runs.”

Chicago dropped two of three to the Los Angeles Dodgers, but infielder Jake Burger is on a tear. The 26-year-old is 14-for-43 (.326) with five homers and 13 RBIs over his last 11 games.

After scoring a total of five runs in the first two games against the Dodgers, Chicago rallied before losing 11-9 in the rubber match on Thursday. The White Sox finished 4-for-14 with runners in scoring position in the series finale.

“This team has a lot of talent — young talent,” White Sox pitcher Johnny Cueto said. “People here know what they need to do in order to get the results. There is still plenty of season to play and we’re going to be OK.”

Chicago manager Tony La Russa is exercising patience with three key veterans in his lineup: infielder/outfielder Leury García (.184 average), catcher Yasmani Grandal (.165) and third baseman Yoan Moncada (.136).

Garcia was given a rest day on Thursday after striking out three times on Wednesday. He is 5-for-36 (.139) with one RBI in his last 12 games.

“I give it all I got,” Garcia said. “I give it 100 percent and struck out three times. Nobody wants three strikeouts. But I just have to keep working and all the situations, they’re going to change.”

Chicago will send rookie right-hander Davis Martin (0-2, 4.35 ERA) to the mound on Friday. Martin, 25, is set to make his third career start and first at Guaranteed Rate Field.

The Texas native allowed four runs on five hits over 5 1/3 innings in a 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays last Friday. He settled in after a rough first inning and gave up just one single in the next four frames.

“He got locked in early, made the adjustments and you saw what happened,” La Russa said. “I was very impressed that he didn’t fall apart and gave us some shutout innings after that.”

The Rangers will counter with right-hander Glenn Otto (4-2, 4.24), who has gone 3-1 with a 2.45 ERA over his last four starts across 22 innings.

Otto, 26, earned the victory last Saturday after allowing two runs on two hits with a career-high five walks over five innings against the Seattle Mariners.

“Everybody did a good job today,” Otto said. “Focus on the guys behind me. They made good plays. That’s not always easy when you’re walking five batters and going deep into counts.”

Otto, who will be making his first appearance against the White Sox, owns a 4.76 ERA in seven career road starts compared to a 7.58 ERA in seven outings at home.

–Field Level Media

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