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 2011 season.
The Opponent: The Rangers didn't get much time to celebrate their first series win since April. It was right onto an airplane to Chicago to kick off a quick two-game set with the White Sox. The Sox have won six of their last eight to start putting some lipstick on the pig of a start that they had to the season.
Past 2011 Meetings: It is the first meeting between the teams this season. If we're lucky, we'll get a great Ozzie Guillen moment before the end of Tuesday's game.
Pitching Matchups: Monday - Colby Lewis (3-4, 4.57 ERA) vs. Edwin Jackson (3-4, 4.29); Tuesday - Matt Harrison (3-4, 4.35) vs. John Danks (0-6, 4.50)
What's Hot: Batting third seems to agree with Ian Kinsler. Ron Washington's lineup machinations last week have coincided with the second baseman's hottest string of the season. He's 10-for-19 in his last five contests, he's scored a run in every game and is doing his best to carry an offense that's terribly shorthanded right now.
The White Sox offense was not very good in April, but they've jacked their batting average by 28 points since the calender flipped over to May. Adam Dunn and Gordon Beckham have started hitting and their record reflects the better results at the plate. Paul Konerko has been good all year, but he's also stepped things up with four homers and 11 RBI already this month.
Lewis has had three straight good starts and looks like the pitcher we remember from last season. A continuation of that will go a long way toward keeping the Rangers pointed in the right direction.
What's Not: Neftali Feliz hasn't allowed a run in four appearances since he came back from the disabled list 10 days ago, but that hasn't stopped people from wondering if there isn't still something wrong with his arm. His velocity is down, his command is shaky and his appearances have been high wire acts that are usually the calling card of lesser closers. He says he feels fine and, again, the results are fine, but it bears watching.
The White Sox had the best pitching staff in all of baseball last season according to Wins Above Replacement, but the results have not been there this season. Jackson's work has picked up this month, but Danks hasn't been the success that many predicted he would be in his first year as the rotation's top dog.
Julio Borbon's trip to the disabled list makes us wonder just where the sniper taking aim at the Rangers is hiding. It is easy to say that the team will be just fine once everyone is healthy, but it is starting to feel like there's a better chance of that day coming to your local nursing home than to the Ballpark.
Familiar Faces: Danks is the only guy on the Sox with ties to the Rangers organization. Bad start to the year or not, it is still awfully painful to think about what the Rangers staff might look like if they hadn't dealt him for Brandon McCarthy.
The rest of the White Sox are pretty familiar characters, although Dunn might be a new face to those of you who only watch American League baseball. You'll enjoy his at-bats as they tend to wind up in breathtaking home runs or strikeouts that would make the Whammer blush.