American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, July 18
(All times Eastern)
Texas Rangers (38-57) at Toronto Blue Jays (49-47), 7:07 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Texas - Yu Darvish (8-5, 2.97)
Toronto - R.A. Dickey (7-9, 3.82)
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Texas Rangers try to put a disappointing first half
behind them on Friday when they open a three-game series with the Toronto Blue
Jays at Rogers Centre.
No team needed the break more than Texas, which has lost eight straight and 22
of its last 25 games. The Rangers have also lost 11 of their last 12 on the
road and now occupy last place in the American League West, 21 games back of
"Commitment is doing what the game asks you to do and not looking for a reward
for what you're doing," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "I'm in the process
of getting this new bunch to understand what it means. Don't worry about stats
or numbers. It's about the team. Some people need to check their attitude and
check what commitment is."
The Rangers haven't dropped nine in a row since May 30-June 8, 2003.
"It has been tough," Washington said. "Through it all, they have handled it
very well. In reality, we'd liked to have handled it better and get more wins.
It didn't happen, but I didn't see any letdown."
Getting the call for the Rangers on Friday will be All-Star Yu Darvish, who
was one of the few bright spots on the team, going 8-5 with a 2.97 ERA.
Darvish, though, is just 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA over his last five starts.
"Just a little erratic. He usually finds himself on the course of the
ballgame," Washington said. "There have been a couple of games there where
he's been having trouble just trying to find the pitches he wanted to use as a
Darvish is 2-2 with a 2.63 ERA in six career starts against Toronto.
Toronto also disappointed in the first half, but went into the break two games
above .500 at 49-47. It could have been so much better, though, as the Blue
Jays were 14 games above .500 on June 6 and held a six-game advantage atop the
American League East.
But thanks to losses in 23 of 34 games Toronto finds itself four games back of
Baltimore in the American League East. The Blue Jays also limped into the
break, dropping seven of their last nine games.
"We're in second place," outfielder Jose Bautista said. "We're obviously not
playing the baseball that we started off playing and that we're capable of
playing. We've had a lot of injuries to deal with.
"Bottom line is, we've got to figure out how to win some of these games that
we've been losing, especially close ones. Hopefully we can manage to keep
winning enough games to stay in one of the top two positions in our division,
and when we get all our big bats back, kind of get back in the thick of
Still, the Blue Jays have at least 49 wins at the break for the first time
On Friday, Toronto will hand the ball to righty R.A. Dickey, who has lost five
of his last six starts. Dickey lost to Tampa Bay on Sunday, but pitched well,
giving up just two runs in six innings, but still fell to 7-9 on the year to
go along with a 3.82 ERA.
Dickey, who started his career with Texas back in 2001, is 2-1 against his
former team with a 2.91 ERA in six games (3 starts).
Toronto took two of three from the Rangers earlier this season.
07/18 10:32:16 ET