American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, April 30th
(All times Eastern)
Texas Rangers (16-5) at Toronto Blue Jays (12-10), 7:07 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Texas - Yu Darvish (3-0, 2.42)
Toronto - Kyle Drabek (2-1, 2.25)
(Sports Network) - Yu Darvish tries to keep his perfect record intact this
evening when the Texas Rangers start a three-game series with the Toronto Blue
Jays at Rogers Centre.
Darvish has lived up to the hype early on, posting a 3-0 mark to go along with
a 2.42 earned run average in four starts. He enters tonight's tilt on the
heels of his most impressive outing, a win over the New York Yankees that saw
him scatter seven hits over 8 1/3 scoreless innings. He also struck out 10 and
has fanned 24 batters in 26 innings.
This, of course, will be his first start against the Jays, a team that had
been linked to the Japanese superstar before he was awarded to the Rangers.
"Every team is different," Darvish said recently. "The umpires are different,
and the strike zone is different. It also depends on the ballpark. Every
ballpark right now is a first time for me. I have to experience everything.
I'm not just learning the players. I'm understanding the atmosphere and I'm
able to control my emotions."
Texas ran into some trouble this weekend, dropping two of three at home to the
Tampa Bay Rays, including Sunday's 5-2 setback that denied it its seventh
straight series win to start the year.
The Rangers had won 12 straight series dating back to last year's regular
Derek Holland (2-2) allowed five runs on nine hits and two walks while
striking out eight over seven innings to suffer the loss.
Also, Josh Hamilton was forced to leave the game in the third inning with a
stiff back. After the game, though, the former AL MVP didn't seem too
concerned, but he is questionable for tonight's opener.
"I've had it happen before," Hamilton said of the back stiffness. "Very
rarely, but it has happened before. It usually takes about 12 hours and then
it releases so I don't expect it to effect anything tomorrow."
Toronto, meanwhile, won its second straight game on Sunday, as Henderson
Alvarez tossed six-plus solid innings to help the Blue Jays get past Seattle,
7-2, in the rubber match of a three-game set at Rogers Centre.
Alvarez (1-2) allowed just one run on six hits and three walks while striking
out one. Evan Crawford, Casey Janssen and Francisco Cordero finished out the
game for the Blue Jays, who had dropped four in a row prior to winning the
last two against the Mariners..
Jeff Mathis cracked a two-run homer, Edwin Encarnacion added a solo shot and
Brett Lawrie contributed a two-run double. Kelly Johnson also added a run
batted in for the Jays.
"He did well," Mathis said of Alvarez's effort. "He threw his sinker and kept
it down in the zone and got a lot of ground ball outs and early outs."
Heading to the hill for the Jays tonight will be righty Kyle Drabek, who is
2-1 with a 2.25 ERA. Drabek suffered his first loss of the season on Wednesday
in Baltimore, as the Orioles tagged him for two runs and five hits in six
innings of a 3-0 shutout.
Drabek beat the Rangers the only other time he faced them.
04/30 10:39:45 ET