Game 60 lineups: Rangers at Nats

At first blush, tonight's opener of an interleague series between the Rangers and Nationals looks like a classic mismatch. Washington has won eight of 10 games, while Texas, which has dropped 11 of 14, is straggling along at five games under .500 and trying to avoid falling into the American League West basement.

Well, we all know games aren't played on paper, and the Rangers are just the kind of pesky foe that can turn what looks to be a surefire win into a trap game. It wouldn't be surprising to see them make a summer run to make the AL West something other than a one-horse race dominated by the Astros. So don't expect the Nats to take the Rangers lightly, no matter what the standings or stats might say.

roark-pitching-red-sidebar.jpgTonight is Tanner Roark bobblehead night at Nationals Park, which is entirely fitting, since the right-hander draws the starting assignment for the series opener against the team that drafted him out of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the 25th round of the First-Year Player Draft in 2008. Roark (6-2, 3.95 ERA) was shipped to the Nats at the trade deadline in July 2010 as part of a three-player deal that sent shortstop Cristian Guzmán to the Rangers. That swap ranks as one of general manager Mike Rizzo's most astute trades.

Roark was a hard-luck loser in his lone career start against the Rangers on June 1, 2014. He absorbed a 2-0 loss despite throwing seven innings, allowing a run on seven hits with two walks and four strikeouts. But after that defeat, Roark won eight of his next 10 decisions

Current Rangers have hit Roark at a .304/.333/.348 clip, though only five Texas players have at-bats against him, including tonight's Texas starter, Andrew Cashner (2-5, 3.39 ERA). Catcher Jonathan Lucroy is 5-for-13 with a double and an RBI, and shortstop Elvis Andrus is 2-for-3. But most of the Rangers will be seeing Roark for the first time.

Cashner has faced the Nationals a bunch, having played in the National League for the Cubs, Padres and Marlins for seven seasons before signing in the offseason as a free agent with the Rangers. In 12 career games (seven starts) versus Washington, Cashner is 2-4 with a 4.50 ERA. In seven lifetime games at Nationals Park (four starts), he's 0-3 with a 6.33 ERA.

After sitting out from yesterday's starting lineup against the Orioles following a cross-country trip from Los Angeles, first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, second baseman Daniel Murphy and third baseman Anthony Rendon are back in the batting order.

Current Nationals are slashing .320/.376/.533 off Cashner. Murphy has done the most damage, going 5-for-9 with a homer and four RBIs. Bryce Harper is 4-for-8, Rendon is 4-for-10 with a homer and Trea Turner is 2-for-2.

TEXAS RANGERS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, Sirius 132
Weather: Mostly sunny, 79 degrees, wind 7 mph from left field

NATIONALS (38-21)
SS Trea Turner
LF Brian Goodwin
RF Bryce Harper
1B Ryan Zimmerman
2B Daniel Murphy
3B Anthony Rendon
C Matt Wieters
CF Michael A. Taylor
RHP Tanner Roark

RANGERS (27-32)
RF Shin-Soo Choo
SS Elvis Andrus
LF Nomar Mazara
C Jonathan Lucroy
2B Rougned Odor
3B Jurickson Profar
1B Joey Gallo
CF Delino DeShields
RHP Andrew Cashner

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