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On Deck: Diamondbacks

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On Deck: Diamondbacks

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, left, is robbed of a foul ball by a fan in the stands during the fifth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, May 19, 2013 in Miami. The Marlins defeated the Diamondbacks 2-1.

On Deck will be here all season to provide you with everything you need to know (and a few things you don't) about every Rangers series during the 2013 season. 

The Opponent: The Diamondbacks have bounced back from a disappointing 2012 and are atop a jam-packed NL West despite getting rid of their main offensive punch as they traded Justin Upton to the Atlanta Braves over the winter.

Past 2013 Meetings: The teams, who are now "natural rivals" according to Major League Baseball, will now play every year as the Diamondbacks took the place of the Houston Astros as the Rangers' natural rival in the National League as the Astros moved to the American League.

Pitching Matchups: Monday, Game 1, in Arizona — Martin Perez (2013 debut) vs. Tyler Skaggs (2013 debut); Monday, Game 2, in Arizona — Yu Darvish (7-2, 2.84 ERA) vs. Trevor Cahill (3-5, 2.81); Wednesday, in Texas — Justin Grimm (4-3, 4.05) vs. Brandon McCarthy (2-3, 4.36); Thursday, in Texas — Derek Holland (4-2, 2.97) vs. Wade Miley (3-4, 4.53).

What's Hot: Over the past week, the Rangers' offense has gone a bit cold with Mitch Moreland's .300 batting average over the past seven games being the only regular who's hitting at least .300 in that short span. Aside from Moreland, it's two rookies who are pacing the Rangers' offense right now in Leonys Martin and Jurickson Profar. On the mound, Derek Holland bounced back Saturday in Seattle in a big way, going toe-to-toe with King Felix and striking out 10 in a Rangers win. Neal Cotts has just been awesome since being called up last week and has instantly become a winning piece of the Rangers' bullpen.

For the Diamondbacks, offensively, two third basemen have led the way recently in veteran Eric Chavez, a familiar Rangers foe from his days in Oakland, and super-utility man Martin Prado are hitting .353 and .400, respectively, over the past week. On the hill, the Rangers will be fortunate to miss youngster Patrick Corbin, who has worked 15 innings in his last two starts with 15 Ks and just three walks. Brandon McCarthy is coming off a good start when he got a win in seven innings of work while allowing one run.

What's Not: As good as Cotts has been in the Rangers' bullpen recently, Michael Kirkman and Joseph Ortiz, who started the season with so much promise, have been equally bad. At the dish, Elvis Andrus and Lance Berkman, who might have to play his first game in the field this year on Monday in Arizona, have been scuffling, each hitting under .200 over the last week.

The Diamondbacks have one of the top power-hitting young first baseman in baseball in Paul Goldschmidt, but he's hitting just .227 over the last week. Starting outfielder Cody Ross, who burned the Rangers in the 2010 World Series with the San Francisco Giants, is hitting just .188 over that same stretch.

Familiar Faces: The Rangers had high hopes for Brandon McCarthy when they traded prospect John Danks to the Chicago White Sox for the more big-league ready McCarthy. McCarthy, who's always been injury-plagued, could never get healthy for the Rangers and they eventually gave up on him before he had a couple of good years (when healthy) in Oakland and has now landed in Arizona this past winter.

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