After winning each of the first two games against the Twins, Texas will send Neftali Feliz to the mound for his second career start as it looks for its first series sweep of at least three games in Minnesota since April 22-25, 1999. The Twins, meanwhile, hope that Liam Hendriks can snag a victory out of the three-game set in the 23-year-old's season debut.
Feliz turned in an impressive outing in his debut start Tuesday, tossing seven shutout innings to earn the victory against the Mariners. The right-hander conceded just four hits while registering 108 pitches, easily surpassing his previous career high of 42 in a single outing.
"I liked his demeanor on the mound," manager Ron Washington said. "He looked committed to the pitches he decided he and [pitching coach Mike Maddux] wanted to throw. I don't think anybody could have foreseen how he used his off-speed stuff and kept it in the zone. I told him from this point on, I'm looking for consistency."
Hendriks, the Twins' Minor League Pitcher of the Year a season ago, has his sights set on making a solid first impression of his own after missing his first scheduled start last Sunday due to a bout with food poisoning.
"I'm really excited to get out there," said Hendriks, who spent last weekend in the hospital before being released Monday and flying back to Minneapolis. "I was a little disappointed I wasn't able to get out there last week. But things happen and I feel strong, and everything is ready to go."
Though Feliz has pitched well against Minnesota in the past, posting a 2.08 ERA in eight career relief appearances, facing a team as a starter is an entirely different challenge, said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.
"We've seen him as a closer, but that's totally different than him starting," Gardenhire said. "So we'll have to see how he works as a starter. But at least we've seen the arm action and the arm angle."
Rangers: Napoli, Torrealba continue to split catching duties
Yorvit Torrealba will start behind the plate in Sunday's series finale, as Washington continues to divide the catching responsibilities evenly between Torrealba and Mike Napoli.
Torrealba is also expected to be behind the dish for one of Yu Darvish's next two starts after Napoli caught each of Darvish's first two outings. Washington said he does not want to set personal catchers for any of his starters.
Twins: Thomas expected to join team after being claimed off waivers
Outfielder Clete Thomas is expected to join the Twins for Sunday's series finale after being claimed off waivers from the Tigers on Saturday. Minnesota optioned Ben Revere after Saturday's game to make room on the 25-man roster.
Thomas, 28, is a career .253 hitter with eight homers, 22 doubles, four triples and five stolen bases in 145 games with the Tigers.
Joe Mauer is the only current Twins player to have recorded a hit off Feliz. Mauer is 3-for-4 in his career against the former reliever, while the rest of his teammates are 0-for-13.
The Rangers haven't taken the season series from the Twins since winning five of the nine meetings in 2006. Since the start of the '07 season, Minnesota is 30-19 against the Rangers, including 20-8 at home.