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Interleague Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, April 18th (All times Eastern)
Texas Rangers (9-5) at Chicago Cubs (4-9), 2:20 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Texas - Alexi Ogando (2-0, 1.08) Chicago - Carlos Villanueva (0-0, 0.64)
(Sports Network) - There haven't been many pitchers better than Carlos Villanueva this season. However, he has no wins to show for it. Villanueva will try to change that on Thursday when the Chicago Cubs play the finale of what is now a two-game series with the Texas Rangers at Wrigley Field.
Wednesday's contest was postponed due to rain and there is a good chance that Thursday's plans will be altered, as the forecast in Chicago calls for more storms with wind and a 100-percent chance of rain.
Villanueva, meanwhile, has allowed just one run (0.64 ERA) in 14 innings this season, but has yet to record a decision thanks to his bullpen. He scattered three hits over 7 1/3 scoreless frames on Friday against San Francisco, as the bullpen again imploded in the Cubs' eventual 4-3 win.
"I'm happy just getting the (team) 'W,'" Villanueva said after the contest. "The atmosphere in our clubhouse right now, I wouldn't change that for the world."
Texas' Alexi Ogando has also been impressive, as he takes the hill Thursday sporting a 2-0 mark to go along with a 1.08 ERA. Ogando, though, did not get a decision his last time out on Saturday in Seattle, but pitched well, surrendering one run and five hits in five innings of a 3-1 in.
"He has been pitching extremely well," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "He still has to find command of his fastball, and when he finds that, he will be even better. He is still able to throw his secondary pitches, but his bread and butter is still the command of his fastball."
Texas won its fifth straight interleague road tilt on Tuesday, as Craig Gentry's diving catch on a Darwin Barney liner with two outs in the ninth helped the Rangers hang on for a 4-2 win over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
"In that situation unless you're sure you can catch it, you don't do something like that," said Gentry. "As I got closer to the ball it kept hanging there so I knew I had a play on it."
Derek Holland (1-1) tossed seven shutout innings and Adrian Beltre belted his second home run of the season for Texas, which has won three of its last four outings. Jeff Baker had two hits and an RBI for his first multi-hit game of the campaign.
"He just kept making pitches," praised manager Ron Washington. "He was able to get us through seven."
Alfonso Soriano had two hits to pace Chicago, while Travis Wood went 7 1/3 strong innings, yielding just two runs and five hits.
The Rangers went 14-4 in interleague play last year, including 7-2 on the road. Chicago on the other hand lost seven of nine at home to the AL a year ago.
04/18 10:21:11 ET