ARLINGTON -- Erik Bedard was on the mound for the Astros on Wednesday, the first of five straight left-handers the Rangers are expected to face in their next five games. The White Sox are listing left-handers Chris Sale, Hector Santiago and John Danks this weekend and Joe Saunders is expected to start on Monday for the Mariners in Seattle.
The run ends with the Mariners expecting to go with right-handers Hisashi Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez in the final two games of that three-game series. The Rangers, going into Wednesday night, were 24-13 when the opposing team started a left-hander.
The run of lefties likely means five straight starts for Jeff Baker at first base and Craig Gentry in left field. Manager Ron Washington is settling into a platoon situation with those two, left-fielder David Murphy and first baseman Mitch Moreland.
Leonys Martin has become the Rangers' full-time center fielder, but Gentry has still earned playing time by hitting .326 with a .429 on-base percentage since the All-Star break. He is hitting .273 with a .381 on-base percentage and a .386 slugging percentage against left-handers this season, while Murphy is hitting .228 with a .275 on-base and a .297 slugging percentage against southpaws.
"I'll just take a little vacation and be ready to come off the bench," Murphy said. "This is the way it was last year and it worked out. Craig has done a great job against left-handers. If that's the best situation for the team, that's fine with me."
Baker is hitting .348 against left-handers, the highest average on the team. Moreland is hitting .239 against them. With Jurickson Profar filling all the other infield positions as a utility player, the only real chance to get Baker in the lineup is by playing first base against left-handers.
"That's the way it's going," Moreland said. "We're doing everything we can to win ballgames, that's definitely the spot we want to be in and everybody is contributing in some way or another. I'll be there when my number is called upon and do what I can do. Just because I'm not starting doesn't mean I won't be in there later in a key at-bat or be called upon to make a key play."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.