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CWS@TEX: Yu Darvish on his outing, win vs. White Sox

Two of the best teams in baseball, led by their No. 1 starters, meet on a Sunday afternoon in Arlington with temperatures expected to be in the low 70s.

It might be baseball at its finest.

Yu Darvish and Jon Lester lead the Rangers and Red Sox into a series finale Sunday that should be as low-scoring as it is exciting.

"A good pitching matchup I think draws the attention of everybody that comes to the ballpark," said Sox manager John Farrell. "And [Sunday], hopefully that's the way it plays out.

"We know that Yu is good. But I'm looking forward to Jon Lester going back out and pitching like he has for four of his six starts that he's made for us. That's where my focus is."

In Lester's first four starts, everything was working.

His cutter was sharp and his command was spot-on as he struck out 23 batters and walked only four.

Then he walked six against Oakland, gave up five earned runs against Toronto and raised his ERA from 1.73 to 3.11.

But as Lester has shown throughout his career, when he's on, he's among the best in the game. And he might have to be against Darvish.

"The challenge becomes that you go into the game knowing that it has a chance to be a low-run game," Farrell said. "It's not so much the name of the opposing pitcher. It's probably what you anticipate that game playing out like. That's where that focus can be heightened."

The Red Sox will have to be extra focused against Darvish, who is striking out batters more frequently than any other pitcher in baseball (13.5 strikeouts per nine innings).

"I have had some good games and some bad games," Darvish said. "Overall I've thrown the ball pretty well."

While Darvish was knocked around by the Red Sox in his only start against them last season, he'll now have to face that lineup with the addition of Mike Napoli, his former teammate and good friend on the Rangers.

"He's throwing the ball really well," Napoli said of Darvish. "I'm going to keep my same approach, do what I do. I'm not going to try and get out of myself."

Napoli, who said he's felt healthier this year than he has in the past two seasons, is among the top run producers in the Majors with 31 RBIs.

"I saw him a lot last year but I didn't face him," Darvish said. "I will have to look at some video and really study it."

Rangers: Murphy sick, Baker likely to play Sunday
Lefty-hitting outfielder David Murphy wasn't in the lineup against right-hander John Lackey on Saturday because Murphy's stomach was fighting against him.

"He's got a stomach virus," manager Ron Washington said. "He's not even in the ballpark. His whole family is laid up."

With a left-hander on the mound Sunday, Murphy is unlikely to play, regardless of health. Jeff Baker, who is hitting .333 while playing almost exclusively against lefties, should be in the lineup.

Red Sox: Nava fills need in lineup
Daniel Nava was in the lineup for the Red Sox, batting sixth and playing left field on Saturday. Incidentally, all five of his home runs this season have come in 12 games while hitting sixth. He's played eight games out of the No. 2 spot and five games out of the No. 5 spot.

But his versatility in the batting order has been appreciated by the Red Sox, who needed a fill-in at the two-hole while Shane Victorino dealt with back soreness.

Nava, who has some power and speed, had an RBI hit Saturday and has reached base safely at least once in 21 of 25 games this season.

Worth noting
• Closer Andrew Bailey was unavailable Saturday with right biceps soreness, and Joel Hanrahan will reclaim the role, if needed, until Bailey returns to health.

• Nelson Cruz has pummeled Lester to a 1.497 OPS in his career. The sample size is small (17 at-bats), but Cruz has singled, doubled, tripled and homered off the lefty.

• Jacoby Ellsbury stole his Major League-leading 12th base Saturday. He's 12-for-14 this season. Comments