Astros-Rangers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated June 15, 2012
Yu Darvish admitted feeling fatigued after his latest subpar performance. He won't be able to make the same excuse this time around. Taking the mound for the first time in more than a week, Darvish will look to get back on track and help the Texas Rangers earn their 17th victory in the last 22 meetings with the Houston Astros when the teams open the latest rendition of the Lone Star Series on Friday night in Arlington. Darvish (7-4, 3.72 ERA) dropped to 1-3 with a 6.53 ERA over his last four starts after giving up six runs and walking six - the second time during his rough stretch he walked that many - in 5 1-3 innings of a 7-1 loss to Oakland on June 7. He had gone 6-1 with a 2.60 ERA in his first eight outings. The right-hander attributed his most recent poor start to possible fatigue. Darvish was accustomed to pitching on six or seven days' rest in Japan, compared to the usual five-day break in the major leagues. Manager Ron Washington decided to push back Darvish in the rotation to give him seven days between starts when he faces the Astros on Friday. "A couple of extra days won't hurt him. It will probably do him some good," Washington told the Rangers' official website. "He just had some trouble with his mechanics and couldn't make the adjustment. Usually he does. He's fine physically." Houston (27-36) avoided a three-game sweep with a 6-3 win at San Francisco on Thursday, one day after the Giants' Matt Cain tossed a perfect game in the Astros' 10-0 loss. J.D. Martinez snapped an 0-for-12 slump with his first career grand slam in the third inning for the Astros, who still have lost 13 of 18. "I feel like we're the type of team that one or two games isn't going to put us down for too long," Martinez told the team's official website. "I feel like every day we're going to come out and compete and play the game hard. Even if we win five in a row or lose five in a row, it doesn't matter." Houston hopes Jordan Lyles feels similarly confident despite going through a personal slump. Lyles (1-2, 5.40) endured his shortest start of the season Saturday, allowing five runs - four earned - in 4 1-3 innings of a 10-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox. It marked the first time in 21 career starts he didn't have a strikeout. The right-hander dropped to 0-5 with a 5.94 ERA in 12 starts and two relief appearances on the road in his career. Lyles allowed a season-high six earned runs in five innings of a 6-1 home loss to Texas on May 20, falling to 0-2 with a 7.00 ERA in three career starts versus the Rangers. Now, though, he'll be attempting to keep the Rangers' bats cold. Texas has combined for only four runs and eight hits in its last two games, falling 11-3 to Arizona on Thursday to end a three-game winning streak. Josh Hamilton went 0 for 3 and is batting .191 (9 for 47) over his last 12 games, which the AL West-leading Rangers (37-27) have split. Texas took two of three from Houston from May 18-20.
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