Rangers look to keep rolling vs. White Sox

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers are getting offense from everywhere in their bid to remain in the American League playoff race.

The struggling Chicago White Sox are getting it from one player with a bright future.

Rookie Nicky Delmonico has reached base in 13 of his first 14 games heading into Friday's game against a Texas team that's trying to extend a winning streak to five after a 9-8 victory Thursday in the opener of the four-game series.

Delmonico, who has primarily played in the outfield, was the first player in team history to reach base in his first 13 games. The streak ended when he went 0-for-4 on Thursday.

While there are no playoff hopes for the White Sox, losers of five straight, Delmonico is certainly providing hope for Chicago.

"He's a young man (who has) worked on a whole lot of things," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "He's mature. He's got it. I call it the 'it' factor. There's something about him. He's a baseball player that's got skillsets that can apply in practical terms."

Delmonico flashed that "it" factor Wednesday night when he became only the second White Sox player since 2006 to record a multi-homer game in his first 13 contests, joining teammate Jose Abreu. He also recorded three three-hit games in his first 14 starts.

"I'm glad he started well," Renteria said. "You can't expect that kind of pace in terms of homers and all the things he's doing is something that you're going to see all the time. But it's there with him to be a consistent major league baseball player, I think."

Chicago would love to see some consistency from Friday starter James Shields (2-4, 5.90 ERA). Shields is 1-4 with a 7.27 ERA over his last 10 starts, including 0-3 with a 7.54 ERA over his last seven.

The good news for Shields is that he has had success against the hot-hitting Rangers, going 7-3 with a 2.66 ERA in 14 starts. In his last nine turns against Texas, he is 5-1 with a 1.63 ERA.

While Shields is trending in the wrong direction, Texas right-hander Andrew Cashner (7-9, 3.32) is going strong.

He's 3-1 over his last four starts; and, since the start of July, he's 4-2 with a 2.27 ERA. That's the fifth-lowest ERA in the American League in that span.

Cashner has had no success against the White Sox, though. He has faced Chicago three times (one start) in his career but is 0-2 with a 5.63 ERA.

But, with the way the Texas offense is going, Cashner doesn't have to be perfect. The Rangers have scored at least six runs in six of their last seven games, reaching double figures twice. The hot offense isn't just a week-long trend either, as the Rangers have scored at least four runs in 16 of their last 17 games.

That has breathed life into their playoff hopes.

"Everybody is doing their job," shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "Everybody is seeing pitches. We're all having good team at-bats, and we're wearing out a lot of pitchers. That's when we play the best, and that's why we're playing the best (baseball) of the season."
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