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 2014 season.
The Opponent: The Indians have fallen out of contention, or at least their front office thinks so, as they dealt ace Justin Masterson to St. Louis on Wednesday. They've won just three of their last 10 games to fall below .500 and 6 1/2 games out of the AL Central lead.
Past 2014 Meetings: The Indians took three of four games from the Rangers in Arlington last month, winning the final three games of a four-game set.
Pitching Matchups: Friday — Jerome Williams (1-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. TBD; Saturday — Miles MIkolas (1-3, 8.54) vs. Danny Salazar (3-4, 4.96); Sunday — Yu Darvish (10-6, 2.90) vs. Trevor Bauer (4-6, 4.25).
What's Hot: Jerome Williams earned himself a second start after a stellar Rangers debut after he'd been cut loose as a long reliever for the Astros. In that start against baseball's best team, Oakland, Williams went six innings and allowed just one run with four strikeouts and no walks. Neftali Feliz is 3-for-3 on save opportunities in the past seven games since taking over the closer's role. J.P. Arencibia has had an amazing week, hitting .346 with three homers and 12 RBIs in the past seven games.
While the Indians are cooling, they have what might be the hottest hitter in baseball over the past week in Carlos Santana. The first baseman is batting .500 with five homers and eight RBIs to go with six walks in his past six games. Old friend David Murphy is batting .353 in his last six games.
What's Not: As expected, this season has been a roller-coaster for 20-year-old rookie second baseman Rougned Odor, and right now he's in one of his slumps. Odor is batting .190 over his last six games. Mikolas is still struggling and is most likely pitching on borrowed time as the Rangers await Derek Holland's return. In his last outing, he allowed eight runs (seven earned) in only 4 2/3 innings.
Lonnie Chisenhall, who had a three-homer game in Arlington last month, is batting just .176 over his last four games, and Nick Swisher is batting .200 over his last six games. Bauer gave up five runs in 4 1/3 innings in his last start.
Familiar Faces: Shin-Soo Choo spent six seasons in Cleveland before leaving for Cincinnati prior to the 2013 season on a one-year deal and coming to Texas this past winter on a long-term deal. Murphy was a fan favorite in Arlington before leaving via free agency this past winter to get himself into more of an everyday role.