Texas is starting veteran right-hander Jon Gray (6-5, 3.45 ERA), while Tampa Bay lined up for a bullpen game with right-hander Zack Littell (0-1, 6.05) as the scheduled starter.
"It's hard to win major league games," Rangers second baseman Marcus Semien told Bally Sports Southwest. "We're playing well enough and we want to keep it up.
Gray is looking for his first win since June 2. He is 0-4 over his last six starts. Against the Guardians on Friday, Gray took a no-decision, allowing four runs on five hits in six innings. He walked three and struck out four. All four runs were produced by two-run home runs by the Naylor brothers, Bo and Josh, in the third inning.
In two career starts vs. the Rays, Gray is 0-1 with a 2.38 ERA in 11 1/3 innings. Both of his starts came in the 2022 season
Offensively, the storyline to watch for the Rangers is Semien chasing 200 career home runs. He belted the 199th of his career on Tuesday, and he is now trying to become just the 30th middle infielder in the modern era (since 1901) to hit 200 home runs, according to Stathead
Speaking of history, the Rangers are making some with their second-half start. This is just the third time the team has started 5-0 after the All-Star break
Littell is expected to make his third start, and 15th appearance, of the season. His most recent appearance came against the visiting Atlanta Braves on July 9, when he allowing two runs on four hits over two innings.
Against the Rangers, Littell has a 2.16 ERA over six appearances, including one start, totaling 8 1/3 innings
Offensively, the Rays have been reeling. They went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position Tuesday. Randy Arozarena and Brandon Lowe both had solo home runs, which were among the bright spots. Arozarena now has 17 home runs, which is three shy of matching his career high from 2021 and 2022
Overall, though, the offensive struggles remain a talking point in the clubhouse.
"It's just not coming easy right now for the guys," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "I really don't know what else to say other than that. Nothing has changed. They're working, so just gotta let it play out a little bit, I guess.
Added Lowe: "We're just not playing the greatest baseball right now. The best way to fix that is just to flush today, don't worry about it, it happened, it's over, show up tomorrow like we're starting the season fresh with no wins, no losses, and attack the day."
--Field Level Media