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: For the first time this season, the Rangers are hosting a winning team, and it's not just any ol' team with a winning record. It's the surprise Red Sox, who were supposed to finish in the bottom of the AL East. While they still might, they're off to a blazing start with the best record in all of baseball.
Past 2013 Meetings: This is the first meeting of 2013 but back in 2012, the Rangers went 6-2 against the Red Sox, including a two-game sweep in Boston in April.
Pitching Matchups: Friday — Derek Holland (1-2, 3.38 ERA) vs. Felix Doubront (3-0, 4.24); Saturday — Alexi Ogando (2-2, 3.38) vs. John Lackey (1-1, 2.61); Sunday — Yu Darvish (5-1, 2.33) vs. Jon Lester (4-0, 3.11).
What's Hot: Looking for hot pitchers? Look no further than Sunday's matchup between Darvish and Lester, who are two of the best pitchers in the game through the first month. Of course, that means the game will be a slugfest, but either way it'll be a fun one to watch. Trying to get the best of those pitchers will be some hot hitters for both teams. For the Rangers, there's Ian Kinsler and Mitch Moreland, and for the Red Sox it's our old friend Mike Napoli and his new slugging teammate David Ortiz.
What's Not: John Lackey against the Rangers. In 195 2/3 career innings vs. the Rangers, Lackey has failed miserably. The native Texan hasn't perfomed against the Rangers, putting up a sky-high 6.16 ERA and has allowed a .295 batting average against — both highs in terms of numbers against opposing teams in the league. Maybe that's a sign of good things to come for two Rangers bats who are struggling to find any groove in the top of the Rangers' lineup in Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre.
Familiar Faces: Oh, where do we begin? Well, there's of course Mike Napoli, who's leading the league right now with 31 RBIs. There's also relief pitcher Koji Uehara and his 1.54 ERA in 11 2/3 innings of work this year. There's also Ryan Dempster, who pitched half a season in Arlington last year and is now 2-2 for Boston with a 3.00 ERA. There's also Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who's hitting .232 with three homers this year for the Red Sox.
Going the other way, the two Rangers with Red Sox ties are off to awful starts in Beltre, who played one season in Boston in 2010, and David Murphy, who came up in the Red Sox system. There's also hitting coach Dave Magadan, who joined the Rangers this year after several with the Red Sox.