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On Deck: Diamondbacks



    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 come back to town for a make-up game on what was originally a scheduled off-day for both teams. The game was originally scheduled for May 29 as part of an odd four-game series with two home and two away back during the last week of May. The Diamondbacks are 55-52, 2 1/2 games back of the Los Angeles Dodgers for first place in the NL West.

    Past 2013 Meetings: The Diamondbacks have taken two of the three games against the Rangers, scoring a doubleheader sweep on Memorial Day in Arizona. After the rainout on May 29, the Rangers came back on May 30 to beat Arizona 9-5.

    Pitching Matchup: Yu Darvish (9-5, 2.80 ERA) vs. Zeke Spruill (0-0, 2.08)

    What's Hot: Geovany Soto has had three straight starts behind the plate, and you can't blame Ron Washington for riding with his veteran backup catcher. Soto's walk-off homer on Monday started the string of three straight walk-off nights, and his homer the next night pulled the Rangers within one run heading into the ninth inning. He's 6-for-13 with two homers and four RBIs and has scored three times in his past four games. Neal Cotts has been a force in the bullpen, and Tanner Scheppers rebounded nicely from a rough week on Wednesday, getting the Rangers out of a jam to preserve a tied game that they eventually won.

    Remember Cody Ross? Yeah you do. You most likely hate the guy for what he did in the 2010 postseason as a member of the San Francisco Giants — his one shining moment. Welll, he's coming to town on Thursday and he's hot again, hitting .500 over the last week with a homer and four RBIs. Shortstop Cliff Pennington is hitting .471 over the same span with two doubles and a triple. Wade Miley is red-hot as a starting pitcher, but fortunately for the Rangers they won't have to worry about him.

    What's Not: Robbie Ross is hurting. He's getting spanked by left-handed hitters and has given up three runs and seven hits in his last three innings of work. Joakim Soria had been fantastic since his return to the bigs with the Rangers, but on Tuesday had a rough outing and gave up three runs — his first three runs allowed as a member of the Rangers' organization, minors or majors. David Murphy and Mitch Moreland are both hitting horribly in the last week, combining for a .209, like literally, as in one is hitting .118 and the other is hitting .091. Ouch.

    Two of the Diamondbacks' hot young players, Paul Goldschmidt and Adam Eaton, are really struggling right now — perfect timing for the Rangers. Goldschmidt, a big-time power hitter, is hitting just .125 over the last week, but two of his three hits in that time have left the yard.

    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. He also landed on the DL again but is set to rejoin the rotation this weekend.