Red Sox-Rangers Preview - NBC Sports

Red Sox-Rangers Preview
May 27, 2015, 6:12 pm

The last time Josh Hamilton played at home for the Texas Rangers, he was booed as the club was eliminated from the playoffs.

The Rangers haven't been back to the postseason since, while Hamilton is finally back for them.

He'll make his home debut Thursday night as unbeaten starter Nick Martinez looks to set a club record with an impressive streak in the opener of a four-game series against the Boston Red Sox.

Hamilton closed his first stint with Texas (23-24) by going 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in a 5-1 loss to Baltimore in the 2012 AL wild-card game. He was booed in his final two at-bats in a season in which the Rangers were swept over the final weekend in Oakland to blow the AL West title.

The left fielder had a self-reported alcohol and cocaine relapse last offseason that led to the end of his two-year tenure with the Los Angeles Angels. He was a five-time All-Star in his first stint with Texas and sparked the Rangers to the World Series in 2010 and 2011.

Hamilton was mostly booed in his Angels returns to Arlington, though he batted .389 during a 14-game hitting streak as a visiting player there heading into 2015.

"I'm looking forward to being back in the area and in the ballpark and playing in front of Rangers fans again," he said. "I don't think any nerves will be there, but you never know."

He went 1 for 11 in his first series in Cleveland, with his first hit coming in Wednesday's 12-3 defeat that ended the Rangers' season-high, seven-game win streak.

Martinez (4-0, 1.96 ERA) could get Texas right back on track. He's third in the AL in ERA and among three pitchers to not have a loss after making at least nine starts.

The right-hander, who has never faced Boston, allowed two runs over seven innings to win his second straight outing in a 15-4 rout of the New York Yankees on Saturday.

That was the 15th straight start in which Martinez has allowed three or fewer earned runs to match Rich Hand's 1972 club record. Martinez benefits from the fourth-highest run support average in baseball at 8.18.

Having Prince Fielder helps, as the AL batting leader has a .368 average. Fielder is 15 for 28 with five homers and 15 RBIs in a six-game hitting streak.

Boston (21-26) will give the ball to highly touted Eduardo Rodriguez, who looks to become the first Red Sox starter to win his big league debut since Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2007.

Rodriguez is a 22-year-old left-hander who went 4-3 with a 2.98 ERA in eight starts with Triple-A Pawtucket. Catcher Blake Swihart has caught him the last two years.

"He's not scared to go after guys," Swihart told MLB's official website. "He's very confident out there on the mound and he goes out there with the confidence that he's going to win the battle. To just have a guy who goes out there and competes like that is nice."

The Red Sox began a seven-game trip by getting swept in three by Minnesota. Dustin Pedroia went 5 for 12 in the series, including a pair of two-run homers in Wednesday's 6-4 defeat.

Texas and Boston combined for 14 runs from May 19-21 when the Rangers took two of three at Fenway Park.

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