A couple of big things can happen for the Texas Rangers on Thursday afternoon, and most likely, they're related to one another.
With a win, the Rangers can pull off a sweep of Oakland after sweeping Atlanta and win their sixth straight game, which would be their longest winning streak this season. And in order to get that win, the Rangers will need a strong start from rookie righty Nick Martinez, who will oppose 13-game winner Sonny Gray.
Martinez is searching for his third consecutive quality start — minimum of six innings pitched, maximum of three earned runs allowed — and if he notches that it'd mark the first time in his career he's accomplished that.
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It doesn't sound like a whole lot, but keep this in mind: Derek Holland didn't do that until just a couple of seasons ago. It's a sign of consistency and something that the Rangers are looking for from their young arms like Martinez and Nick Tepesch so they can have a good feel for what they want from them in 2015.
Martinez is 3-11 this season with a 4.93 ERA, but has been slightly better over his last 10 starts, sporting a 4.72 ERA over that time.