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Texas Rangers - PlayerWatch

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

LHP Martin Perez dropped his third decision this season, but Sunday's start against the Orioles is a fine example of the statistics not telling the whole story. Perez is down in the books as having given up four runs on nine hits, but he pitched much better than his line indicated. Two runs in the second in all likelihood don't score if Chris Davis' leadoff fly ball in the second is caught by David Murphy instead of turning into a double when the left fielder lost the ball in the blinding sun. An error by Elvis Andrus, a play that probably goes for a 6-4-3 double play, was followed by Brian Roberts' run-scoring single that left the bases loaded with no outs. Perez settled down, though, striking out Nate McLouth and Manny Machado in back-to-back at-bats and inducing a groundout by Nick Markakis.

CF Leonys Martin's once-hot bat has cooled considerably. In his last nine games, including Sunday's loss to the Orioles, Martin was 4-for-30. Despite the slump, he's still hitting .307 in his past 29 games.

RHP Yu Darvish will make his 19th start of 2013 in the first of four against the Yankees and first since a stint on the disabled list with a strained muscle in his back. He hasn't pitched since July 6 against Houston, when he gave up a season-high five runs in taking his fourth loss of the season. The rest, Darvish said, "was really good for me." Darvish pitched 8 1/3 shutout innings against the Yankees in his only career start against them, in 2012, giving up seven hits and striking out 10. The Rangers took two of three against New York at Yankee Stadium in June.

LHP Joseph Ortiz, who pitched in a set-up role earlier this season, has turned recently into a long man. He's worked more than three innings twice in three relief appearances since his recall from Triple-A Round Rock earlier this month. He has been effective, too, in longer stints. Against Detroit on July 12, Ortiz worked 3 2/3 innings and gave up one hit and struck out three. On Saturday against Baltimore, the lefty again pitched 3 2/3 innings and held the Orioles scoreless while giving up five hits. "He has been good," manager Ron Washington said of Ortiz's extended work. "And I can't explain it."

LF David Murphy, with a base hit on Sunday, is 3-for-11 with four strikeouts against Baltimore's Chris Tillman. Murphy is hitting .228 this season, though he is 5-for-8 with two RBIs since the All-Star break, the start of what the Rangers hope is a continuation of a trend. Murphy has hit .317 after the break since 2010, sixth best in the American League during that time, just behind teammate Adrian Beltre (.320).

RHP Alexi Ogando is a go for Tuesday, manager Ron Washington said before Sunday's game. The tall right-hander makes his first start since early June, when he landed on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation. "He's good," Washington said. "Unless something happens between now and Tuesday, he's definitely there." Ogando threw 80 pitches in a rehabilitation start at Triple-A Round Rock last week, but could probably throw 100 on Tuesday, the manager said.

RHP Joakim Soria, the former All-Star closer now in a set-up role with Texas, was stretched a bit on Sunday, needing 20 pitches to record three outs in the eighth against the Orioles. He walked the leadoff batter, Matt Wieters, and quickly fell behind J.J. Hardy before recording a fly-ball out to deep left. Soria's line this season since being activated from the DL following recovery from Tommy John surgery: four innings pitched, one hit, one walk, three strikeouts and no runs. When (and if?) the Rangers get a lead in the late innings of the second half of the season, Soria should provide a boost.

LHP Matt Harrison, who is recovering from back surgery, reported no issues after a 40-45 pitch bullpen session on Saturday. He said he plans to throw another on Monday, with the goal of 60 pitches. If all goes well, he'll throw live batting practice on Wednesday.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130722/texas-rangers-playerwatch