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Martinez Looking to Repeat Feat

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    Nick Martinez #22 of the Texas Rangers throws a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays in the first inning on May 7, 2015 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Cliff McBride/Getty Images)

    When the San Francisco Giants came to town last week, the big story of the weekend was set to be Cole Hamels' Rangers debut on Saturday.

    But the night before that, the Rangers sent Nick Martinez to the hill to face reigning World Series MVP and overall bad-A Madison Bumgarner, one of the game's best lefties a team that can't hit lefties has no business beating.

    The odds were tipped even more in the Giants' favor given the fact Martinez was pitching for the Rangers with a few bad outings in his recent memory.

    But the odds were thrown out the window, as Martinez outpitched Bumgarner and the Rangers opened the series with a 6-3 win before eventually winning the series.

    Now, Martinez will look to beat another pitcher he really has no business hanging with in Houston's newly acquired Scott Kazmir.

    The Rangers already have the series in hand and have already assured themselves a winning homestand, but a sweep of the first-place Astros would be tremendous moving forward and pull them within five games of the AL West lead — even closer in the AL Wild Card standings.

    It won't be easy. Kazmir has absolutely owned the Rangers this year. This will be his first time facing them as a member of his hometown Astros, but he has made three starts against them during his time with the A's this season.

    In those three games, Kazmir has worked 21 innings and posted a 1.29 ERA with 22 strikeouts. He's 2-0 against them this year.

    Martinez, who turns 25 on Wednesday, has an uphill battle ahead of him, but it's something he's overcome before.