American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, July 3
(All times Eastern)
Texas Rangers (37-47) at Baltimore Orioles (45-39), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Texas - Yu Darvish (8-4, 2.42)
Baltimore - Wei-Yin Chen (7-3, 4.19)
(SportsNetwork.com) - It's always good to have an ace.
Though their 2014 season has already shown signs of coming off the rails, the
Texas Rangers will turn to one of their few reliable commodities on Thursday
night when they return to Camden Yards to wrap up a four-game series with the
Staff ace Yu Darvish went through a brief two-start skid in which he allowed
12 runs in 11 innings of consecutive losses, but he recovered well enough to
toss eight scoreless innings in a 5-0 defeat of the Minnesota Twins on
Problem is, the mojo hasn't carried over to the mid-Atlantic coast.
Texas has dropped four games in a row -- including the first three of the
series with the Orioles -- and 12 of 14 overall. Their eight-game losing
streak on the road is their longest since 2005.
Darvish has made one career start against Baltimore and was a 5-1 loser in the
2012 American League Wild Card game after allowing two earned runs in 6 2/3
innings. His manager, Ron Washington, said he had no real concerns even as
Darvish skidded through the two recent starts.
"I thought he was Yu Darvish again," Washington said. "I don't care how good
you are. There will be bumps in the road. There will be times when things
don't go right. And that even can happen for Yu Darvish."
Texas has won 90 games or more for four straight seasons, but is already 10
games below .500 slightly past the halfway point of 2014.
"We certainly had some opportunities," Washington said. "We just didn't get it
Baltimore has bludgeoned Texas pitching to the tune of 21 runs in the first
three games of the series and the Orioles have homered at least one time in 12
The Rangers have lost 10 of 11 games with Baltimore and five in a row at
"It's the sum of the parts, for sure," Baltimore's Ryan Flaherty said. "It
can't be the same guys every night. It's an opportunity for other guys to get
in there and try to contribute and help the team win."
Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen takes the mound and will try and erase the memory
of a 3 1/3-inning start against Tampa Bay in his most recent outing on
Prior to that 5-4 loss, which was the shortest start of his career, Chen had
been unbeaten in five starts with a 2.61 earned run average.
"For every game, you don't want to give up any home runs," Chen said. "Lately,
I've been leaving more pitches up in the zone. (If) I don't make the
adjustments necessary, the results are going to look bad. So I'm going to look
He is 3-0 against the Rangers with a 1.29 ERA.
On Wednesday, Flaherty's go-ahead home run in the seventh proved to be the
difference as the Orioles again relied on the long ball in a 6-4 victory.
Adam Jones also homered and drove in three runs for Baltimore, which has
homered nine times in the first three games of the series.
Brad Brach (2-0) earned the win after pitching 1 1/3 scoreless innings and
getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth. Starter Chris Tillman gave up
four runs -- three earned -- on seven hits with four walks and two strikeouts
across 5 2/3 frames.
Adrian Beltre doubled among his two hits and drove in two runs for the
Texas starter Miles Mikolas, who made his first career start, was in line for
the win after allowing just three runs and three hits with four strikeouts
before the bullpen gave up the lead.
07/03 10:50:28 ET