BY RYAN ABER
Pregame notes from the first of a nine-game season-ending series for the RedHawks (7:05 tonight vs. Nashville):
-Magic number watch: 8
-If the RedHawks can be successful the next couple of nights and Iowa can give them some help in Albuquerque, that magic number has the potential to dip quickly. Both series have doubleheaders tomorrow, with the Isotopes already trailing the first game of theirs 4-0 with the Cubs still batting in the top of the first. That game was suspended when rains came.
-Brandon McCarthy will start tonight against Tim Dillard. McCarthy, though often hurt this season, has been effective in every appearance but one this season. That one, though, was his last start, an eventual 11-3 loss at Albuquerque. McCarthy gave up 8 earned runs (9 total) in five innings in that game. Dillard has turned in his two best performances in his last two starts, going seven innings last time out and eight the start before that. He allowed just one run in those 15 innings, walking three.
The RedHawks scheduled starters the last two nights have wound up being scratched. Two nights ago, Derek Holland was scratched after being summoned to Texas to join the Rangers bullpen and last night, Guillermo Moscoso was scratched because of a blister on one of his pitching fingers. Although many of the RedHawks are late-arriving today as they come off a long road trip, Moscoso is out playing catch in the outfield and appears to be throwing all right.
It’d be a big boost if he could pitch tomorrow, as the RedHawks haven’t announced a starter for the second game of the doubleheader. Omar Beltre will start the opener.
-Brandon Boggs is back with the team after being sent down to make room for Nelson Cruz. Boggs was 0 for 7 in four games with the Rangers since being called up Aug. 15. Boggs gives Bobby Jones more flexibility with his lineup, since he’d been going with just two natural outfielders since Boggs was called up and Craig Gentry went down with a broken wrist. Gentry was called up and immediately placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Boggs isn’t in tonight’s lineup, as Matt Brown and Hernan Iribarren man the corner outfield slots.
-The RedHawks finished 33-38 on the road and did not win a road series from a team other than Round Rock since winning 3 of 4 in Omaha from June 5-8. Their batting average is 34 points better at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark (.290 vs. .256) .
-Max Ramirez enters tonight with a six-game hitting streak, during which he’s 7 for 19 (.368). Ramirez is hitting fourth tonight, at designated hitter. Taylor Teagarden is hitting ninth and catching.