On Deck: Tampa Bay Rays

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 2015 season. 

The Opponent: The Rays are playing good baseball after stripping down a bit last year by sending away David Price and once-prized rookie Wil Myers. They still have Evan Longoria, and they're in second place in the AL East behind the Yankees.

Past Meetings: The Rangers went just 2-5 against the Rays a year ago, losing three of four at home.

Pitching Matchups: Thursday — Nick Martinez (2-0, 0.84 ERA) vs. Chris Archer (3-3, 1.64); Friday — Yovani Gallardo (2-4, 4.05) vs. Nathan Karns (1-1, 4.05); Saturday — Ross Detwiler (0-3, 6.57) vs. Jake Odorizzi (3-2, 2.21); Sunday — Wandy Rodriguez (1-1, 3.12) vs. Drew Smyly (0-1, 2.70)

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What's Hot: The Rangers' offense found life in Houston, most notably in the form of Kyle Blanks and Carlos Peguero, who each hit three home runs and drove in five runs over their last six games. Prince Fielder has been hot all year, and is batting .409 over that same span. Rodriguez and Detwiler each turned in gems against the hottest team in baseball, doing their part to get the Rangers a sweep of Houston.

Rays slugger Evan Longoria isn't swinging a really hot bat right now, but he's rediscovering his power stroke and has two homers in his last six games. Odorizzi and Smyly are each coming off outings in which they allowed just one run in seven and six innings, respectively.

What's Not: Rougned Odor is hitting .167 over his last six games, and has been demoted to being a part-time player and spllitting time at second base with Adam Rosales. A demotion to the minors could be coming soon for Odor.

At times in his career, first baseman James Loney has been one of the game's best hitters, but right now he's hitting just .160 over his last six games.

Familiar Faces: Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos was a longtime minor-leaguer with the Rays, and played 20 games with them in 2011.

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