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On Deck: Red Sox

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On Deck: Red Sox

NBC 5 News

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 Red Sox come town still trying to find their groove and pick up where they left off last season, when they ended the year as the World Series champs, beating the St. Louis Cardinals. Currently, the Red Sox are in fourth place in a crowded AL East at .500.

Past 2014 Meetings: The Red Sox took two of three games from the Rangers at Fenway Park back in the second week of the season.

Pitching Matchups: Friday -- Yu Darvish (2-1, 2.87 ERA) vs. Clay Buchholz (2-2, 5.63); Saturday -- Martin Perez (4-2, 3.59) vs. Jon Lester (3-4, 2.59); Sunday -- Robbie Ross Jr. (1-3, 4.74) vs. John Lackey (4-2, 3.72).

What's Hot: Though most of his appearances this past week have been as a pinch-hitter, Mitch Moreland is getting the job done. He's 4-for-7 over the past week with two RBIs. Oh, and he had that stellar relief outing in the Rangers' blowout loss on Tuesday night. Shin-Soo Choo has been spectacular, hitting .478 with a .625 on-base percentage over the last seven games. He's been exactly the player the Rangers hoped when they gave him a seven-year deal this winter.

Dustin Pedroia is on a roll for the Sox, hitting .381 over his last five games with a homer and four RBIs. Jon Lester is coming off a fantastic outing when he fanned 15 over eight scoreless innings and allowed just one hit.

What's Not: Until Matt Harrison's scoreless outing (less than six innings of work, but still scoreless) on Thursday night, the Rangers' pitching staff had been in a bad way -- a really bad way. Yu Darvish's last start wasn't even really good by his standards, and he'll be looking for a nice rebound against the Red Sox. Leonys Martin is cold again, hitting just .136 over his last six games.

The Red Sox have entrusted third base and center field into young players Will Middlebrooks and Jackie Bradley Jr., respectively, and both are extremely cold right now. They've combined to go just 5-for-35 over the last five games.

Familiar Faces: Adrian Beltre spent one season in Boston before coming to the Rangers prior to the 2011 season, and he tore it up at Fenway Park, re-establishing some diminished value and getting a healthy deal from the Rangers. The Red Sox are full of former Ranger greats -- closer Koji Uehara, catcher A.J. Pierzynski and catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli, all of which would look really nice in a Rangers uniform right now.

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