Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 5/8/13
The Texas Rangers have played one team that currently possesses a winning record this season, earning a recent three-game sweep against one of the best teams in baseball. They've been pretty average against the rest. Texas sends Derek Holland to the mound looking to avoid a third consecutive defeat as it concludes its two-game interleague series with the host Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night. The Rangers (20-13) have played mostly contests versus clubs that have gotten off to tough starts to the season, though they took all three matchups from MLB-best Boston over the weekend. After that impressive series, Texas fell 9-2 in a makeup road game against the Chicago Cubs, who had lost four straight, before losing 6-3 in Tuesday's series opener to a Milwaukee team that had dropped five in a row. Mitch Moreland, hitting .421 over his last five games, went 2 for 4 and homered for the Rangers, who have lost six of their last seven versus sub-.500 teams and gave up five first-inning runs Tuesday. "We really shouldn't have been in that hole," manager Ron Washington said. They'll look to get back on track with help from Holland (2-2, 2.74 ERA), who is coming off one of his better outings. After giving up 10 runs over his previous two starts, Holland returned to form and struck out a season-best nine in eight innings of Friday's 7-0 win over Boston. It marked the fourth time in six starts he's given up two or fewer runs. "Derek was at his best," Washington told the team's official website. "He has been pitching well; he just hasn't been getting the results. I thought he had already won three or four ballgames. Since spring training, he has been throwing the ball well, and it was another example of what he can do." The left-hander has never faced the Brewers. He had lost his previous three interleague starts white posting a 10.03 ERA before throwing seven scoreless innings in a 4-2 win over the Cubs on April 16. Milwaukee (15-16) had won 12 of 15 before losing its first five in May, but Yuniesky Betancourt's team-best eighth homer and Aramis Ramirez's first of the year Tuesday helped snap that skid. Ryan Braun went 1 for 2 with two walks and is hitting .429 during a nine-game hitting streak. "After a rough five games, it was a good start," said Carlos Gomez, who is batting .449 with four homers during a career-best 13-game hitting streak after hitting a two-run double Tuesday. "It brought the energy back to the team." Kyle Lohse hopes to feed off that energy when he takes the hill Wednesday looking to bounce back from a rough outing. Lohse (1-3, 3.16) gave up three runs in 12 combined innings over his previous two starts before giving up four and 11 hits in five innings of Friday's 6-1 loss to St. Louis. "It was really a battle for me all night," Lohse said "I felt good starting out but then it just kind of got away from me. I wasn't getting my off-speed pitches over enough." The right-hander is 3-3 with a 7.16 ERA in nine career starts versus the Rangers, but he hasn't faced them since 2006. Lohse has seen some of Texas' lineup, though, as former Minnesota Twins batterymate A.J. Pierzynski is 2 for 10 against him.
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