Texas will still be looking for its first run of the series when the Rangers and the playoff-hopeful Tampa Bay Rays square off Wednesday afternoon at Globe Life Park in Arlington for the finale of their three-game set.
The Rangers will send left-hander Yohander Mendez (2-1, 3.86) to the mound while Tampa Bay has not announced a starter and will likely go with the "opener" strategy that Rays manager Kevin Cash has popularized this season.
The Rangers lost 4-0 on Tuesday to Tampa Bay's Cy Young Award candidate Blake Snell a night after a streak of 106 home games without being shut out ended with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Tyler Glasnow and three relievers.
Until Monday, Texas was the only major league team that hadn't been shut out at home this season. They've gone 21 innings without scoring a run.
"The two guys we faced the past two games have been very tough and had plus-breaking pitches they can throw for strikes," Texas manager Jeff Banister said. "You don't like (not scoring runs) but I still have faith in this offense. We needed to do something early and couldn't anything done."
Ji-Man Choi has been a big part of the Rays' surge that's seen them win 13 of their past 16 contests.
The Rays were six games behind Oakland for a wild card spot prior to Oakland's late Tuesday game. Tampa Bay has 12 games to play.
On Monday in a 3-0 win over Texas, Choi hit his eighth homer in 43 games covering 146 at-bats since getting called up July 11 after being acquired from the Brewers for Brad Miller, who has since been released. Projected over a full season, Choi could rip off 30 dingers, and he a permanent fixture in the middle of the Rays lineup.
"I keep telling myself to focus on every at-bat and do what I can do, do my best, and the results will follow," Choi told the Tampa Bay Times through a Korean interpreter on the phone. "I just keep doing what I have to do at the plate."
On Tuesday, Choi had a hit, a walk and a run-scoring ground out in three plate appearances
Cash said Choi's been locked in, even hitting the ball hard to all parts of the park when he's not recording hits.
"He's been hot, and now it seems like he's getting big hits for a couple weeks," Cash said. "I know how you can project numbers and I think it's fair to say if he got consistent at-bats that you could see some pretty damaging numbers."
The 23-year-old Mendez will make his sixth appearance and fourth start of the season. It will be his 15th major league appearance and fourth big league start overall.
Mendez has gone 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA in his last three games (two starts) and will be working on four days' rest after earning the relief win in Rangers' 4-0 shutout victory Friday at San Diego. He has never faced Tampa Bay.