ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers begin a difficult stretch of 20 straight days of games starting with a six-game road trip to Boston and Toronto after Monday's off day.
The Rangers and Red Sox will battle for the best record in the American League. The weekend will bring a series against the Blue Jays, who along with the Angels have been the league's biggest underachievers.
Clash of the Titans: The Rangers and Red Sox each have 35 wins, tied for the most in the American League. The Rangers are percentage points ahead of Boston for the AL's best record at 35-21 (.625) while the Red Sox are 35-23 (.603). The St. Louis Cardinals have baseball's best record and winning percentage at 37-19 (.661).
Red Sox hot again: Boston has won seven of 10 games and just won a series at Yankee Stadium. The Red Sox lead the AL East by 2 1/2 games over Baltimore and three games over the Yankees and Tampa Bay. Boston is a season-high 12 games over .500 for the third time this season. The Red Sox are 13-6 since May 15 after losing nine of 11 games before that. The Rangers started that slide with a three-game sweep of the Red Sox in Arlington, outscoring Boston 16-4.
Every day Pedroia: Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia has started all 58 games this season and leads the major leagues in games played. He reached base in an American League-high 53 games, tied with Cincinnati's Joey Votto for the major league lead. He'll move into third place on the Red Sox list for all-time games played at second base Tuesday, passing Marty Barrett with 907 career games.
Jays bring up rear: The AL East is a tightly-bunched four-team race with the Blue Jays the one team on the outside looking in. Toronto did salvage a game in San Diego over the weekend as former Ranger Mark DeRosa hit a home run in the 11th inning to spark a 7-4 victory over the Padres in 11 innings Sunday night. Toronto opens the week with a 24-33 record, eight games behind the Red Sox. The Blue Jays are 14-16 at home.
Big offseason backfires: The Blue Jays acquired shortstop Jose Reyes, pitchers Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson and catcher John Buck in a blockbuster trad with Miami, and also signed Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey and outfielder Melky Cabrera as they made the biggest offseason splash in baseball. So far it hasn't worked. Dickey is 4-7 with a 5.18 ERA. Johnson is just back from the disabled list and is 0-1 with a 6.86 ERA for four starts. Buerhle is 2-4 with a 5.42 ERA. Reyes has played in 10 games and has been out with a high ankle sprain and is just now getting close to a rehab assignment.