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Up next: Rangers

By KEVIN KELLY, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 6, 2002

TONIGHT: 7:15 SATURDAY: 6:15 p.m.

TONIGHT: 7:15 SATURDAY: 6:15 p.m.

SUNDAY: 1:15 p.m.

SCOUTING REPORT: While West teams the A's, Angels and Mariners are competing for playoff spots, the Rangers are trying to end a tumultuous season on a positive.

August certainly was a start for this underachieving team with one of the highest payrolls. The Rangers batted .296 with 45 homers and the pitching staff had a 5.34 ERA with four saves and a winning record (15-12) for the first time this season.

Shortstop Alex Rodriguez continues to post MVP-worthy numbers, but will get little consideration because his team is out of the race.

Thanks to Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro, who last week became the first player to hit 38 or more homers in eight consecutive seasons, the Rangers are second to the Yankees in homers hit this season (202-196).

This may be the last chance to see catcher Ivan Rodriguez in a Rangers uniform because his contract expires after this season.

The pitching staff has just one 10-game winner in Kenny Rogers. Chan Ho Park just won consecutive games for the first time this season.

TAMPA BAY CONNECTIONS: Rogers grew up in the east Hillsborough County community of Dover and attended Plant City High. Third baseman Herbert Perry, a former Florida quarterback, spent parts of the 1999 and 2000 seasons with the Rays. Outfielder Carl Everett played at Hillsborough High. Rays starter Tanyon Sturtze spent the 1997-98 seasons in the Rangers organization. Rays pitching coach Jackie Brown pitched in 77 games for Texas during the 1973-75 seasons.

ALL-TIME SERIES: The Rangers are 30-20 against the Rays and 3-3 against them this season.

WHO'S HOT: Everett is batting .366 with 6 doubles, 4 homers and 22 RBIs over 30 games.

WHO'S NOT: Perry is hitting .243 over his past 37 at-bats (9-for-37).

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