for this game

Braves seek success in visit with Rangers

Sep 12, 2014 - 2:52 PM ( - The Atlanta Braves are slowly falling out of postseason contention. A trip to Texas, though, may be just the cure they need.

The playoff hopeful Braves will begin a three-game series against the woeful Rangers on Friday at Globe Life Park.

Atlanta comes into the contest trailing the Washington Nationals by 8 1/2 games in the National League East, but finds itself just two games back in the race for the second wild card.

The Braves haven't helped themselves much of late, dropping six of their last eight, including two of three to the Nationals.

"There has been so much negativity in here because we haven't been able to get on a roll," first baseman Freddie Freeman said. "But it still just feels like if we ever come through in a situation, things are going to start going our way. We still have a lot of confidence."

Alex Wood takes the hill for them on Friday. He is 10-10 on the year with a 2.90 ERA, but received a no-decision his last time out in Miami. The Marlins reached him for two runs and six hits in seven innings of that one, a 4-3 win by the Braves.

Wood has allowed two earned runs or fewer in seven of his last eight outings.

"I feel good, knock on wood," Wood said. "I just have to continue to keep doing my routine in between (starts) and stay on top of everything and continue to pitch well down the stretch."

Texas, meanwhile, will counter with lefty Derek Holland, who has been brilliant since returning from knee surgery. After allowing just a run in seven innings in his first start, Holland tossed seven scoreless frames on Sunday to beat the Seattle Mariners.

Holland has struck out 11 and has yet to walk a batter in his 14 innings.

"I'm not surprised. I worked on my command big time," Holland said. "My focus has always been on commanding everything. The early reports (from my rehab assignment said) I didn't have good command of the fastball. I worked hard to fix it."

Texas continued to struggle this week, as it was outscored, 24-7, in a three- game sweep at the hands of the American League West-leading Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The Rangers have lost 11 of their last 12 and have managed to score three runs or less in all but one of those contests

This is the first meeting between these teams since the Rangers took two of three back in 2011. It's also Atlanta's first visit to Arlington since 2008.