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What's new: The Rangers are once again looking like the team to beat in the AL, combining their league-best offense, led again by Josh Hamilton, with a good-enough pitching staff. They've had to shuffle a bit on the mound, losing Neftali Feliz and Colby Lewis to injury while adding Ryan Dempster, plus Roy Oswalt. Yu Darvish, who had quad issues, is set to start Tuesday. Joe Nathan has been very good at the back end of the bullpen, and Koji Uehara was activated from the DL Sunday. While Hamilton has the big numbers (35 HRs, 111 RBIs), the Rays know — from consecutive division series losses — how deep the Texas lineup can be. INF Michael Young is expected back from paternity leave tonight.
Key stat: The Rangers have scored 10 or more in a major league-most 18 games.
Connections: Hamilton is a former Rays top prospect, 3B coach Dave Anderson a Gibbs High product. Rays 1B Carlos Peña was Texas' first-round pick in 1988.
Series history: Rays lead 2-1 this season; Rangers lead 74-59, including 44-36 in Arlington. Rangers also lead in ALDS play, 6-3.
Marc Topkin, Times staff writer