Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 4/27/12
Tune into Sun Sports at 7:30 p.m. to watch the Tampa Bay Rays take on the Texas Rangers. The Tampa Bay Rays have recovered nicely from their uneven start, but adding to a growing win streak could prove challenging. That's because the Rays will start a three-game road series against their playoff nemesis and the owners of the AL's best record, the Texas Rangers, on Friday night. After reaching consecutive postseasons for the first time in franchise history, Tampa Bay got this campaign off to a 5-6 start. The Rays, though, have bounced back to win five in a row and seven of eight. They earned their latest win on Brandon Allen's pinch-hit homer in the ninth inning Thursday against the visiting Los Angeles Angels. Allen, acquired off waivers from Oakland on April 19, recorded the go-ahead RBI in his first at-bat with the team Wednesday, drawing a bases-loaded walk in the eighth inning of a 3-2 victory. Tampa Bay (12-7) is seeking its longest single-season win streak since a seven-game run July 24-30, 2010. The Rays won their final five games in 2011 and their first three this season. "Obviously we have a ton of respect for them," Rangers infielder Michael Young told his team's website. However, Tampa Bay will have to face the team that eliminated them in the opening round the last two years. The Rangers prevailed 3-1 in last year's series en route to their second straight AL pennant. "That's one team you just can't take lightly," starting pitcher James Shields told the team's website. "If you make mistakes, they're going to hit you." Texas appears poised for another trip to the World Series and ready to erase last season's disappointment. The Rangers (15-4) have won their first six series in a season for the first time and recovered from Monday's series-opening loss to the New York Yankees to win the final two games, including a 7-3 victory Wednesday. The Rangers are among the major league leaders with a .295 average, 31 homers and 107 runs scored. Their pitching staff also boasts one of the best ERAs in the AL at 2.62 and their starters are a combined 11-2. "We're just playing complete baseball," manager Ron Washington said. "Our mindset is let's try to play the best game we possibly can that day, try to do the things the game asks us to do, and you find out that you'll have more fun than that. And we're having fun." The Rangers will send out one of their three unbeaten starters and the one with the best ERA for Friday's opener, Matt Harrison (3-0, 1.66 ERA). The left-hander gave up a season-high three runs Saturday in Detroit but was also working eight an eight-run lead before his first pitch as the Rangers won 10-4. Harrison won the clinching game of last year's division series, allowing two runs over five innings while striking out nine. He also won his only regular-season start against Tampa Bay on Aug. 16, 2008. The Rays will counter with one of their two unbeaten starters in Shields (3-0, 2.76). Since giving up six runs in his season debut, the right-hander has a 1.11 ERA while winning three consecutive starts. He allowed one run over eight innings Saturday and fanned a season-high seven during a 4-1 win over Minnesota. Shields was tagged for seven runs over five frames during Game 2 of last year's division series in Texas and was the loser in Game 2 of the 2010 playoffs. However, the right-hander is 3-0 with a 0.75 ERA in the past three regular-season starts against Texas and tossed eight scoreless innings during a 4-1 win in Arlington on Aug. 31.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Five teams that may be interested in Blake Griffin this summer

Nigel Hayes slams New York ahead of Sweet 16 game at MSG

Report: Tony Romo ‘believes it’s Texans or retirement’

Clay Matthews Sr. passes away at 88

WWE’s Kane is inching toward running for mayor in Tennessee

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jung Ho Kang denied visa for DUI, may miss 2017 MLB season

Jets not ready to say Josh McCown will be starter

Sens owner on Sidney Crosby: He’s 'a whiner' and should be suspended for Methot slash

Report: Griffin could be growing more open to leaving Clippers

Brandon Brooks accepts wedding invite from Eagles fan

Report: Josh Gordon expected to get reinstatement update in May

Best of Yardbarker: Did Team USA's victory save the World Baseball Classic?

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Breaking down the Naismith Award race

Box Score 3/24: Waiting on West Virginia

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

With Team USA's victory, World Baseball Classic (finally) lived up to its potential

The NFL distraction playbook

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

Box Score 3/23: Team USA wins their first WBC title

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Did Team USA's victory save the World Baseball Classic?

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Breaking down the Naismith Award race

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

The NFL distraction playbook

With Team USA's victory the WBC (finally) lived up to its potential

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker