While seeking to keep the Texas Rangers unbeaten on their road trip, Yovani Gallardo will attempt to avoid matching his longest string of losing starts.
A repeat of last season’s performance against the Tampa Bay Rays would go a long way toward helping Gallardo accomplish both goals Friday night.
Texas (12-16) improved to 4-0 on its trek by holding on for a 5-4 win in Thursday’s opener against Tampa Bay (15-14) and got four runs in the second after Chris Archer threw a wild pitch on what would have been an inning-ending strikeout.
The Rangers have outscored opponents 25-9 on their trip while batting .273, and their five-game road win streak is their longest since a nine-game run in August 2013. They hit .220 and scored 31 runs while dropping eight of their prior 10 games.
"Everybody did a good job tonight," closer Neftali Feliz told MLB’s official website. "Everybody has been working hard, trying to get better."
Gallardo (2-4, 4.05 ERA) has only seen a combined two runs of support in dropping three consecutive starts and three of the 12 runs he’s allowed in his past 17 2-3 innings have been unearned. He gave up two runs in his first six innings Sunday against Oakland but was charged with two more after he left with two outs in the seventh in a 7-1 loss.
Gallardo dropped four consecutive starts once in his career — from May 10-26, 2013, while with Milwaukee.
The right-hander took a 5-0 win in his only start against Tampa Bay on July 30, scattering four hits and one walk in seven innings at Tropicana Field.
He might not have to face Evan Longoria in this matchup after the third baseman was scratched with flu-like symptoms Thursday, ending an MLB-best streak of 270 consecutive games played. Longoria is hitting .365 in his last 14 games and has batted .351 in his last nine against Texas.
"It just didn’t make sense for him to be out there," manager Kevin Cash said.
In his first start against an AL West team, Nathan Karns (1-1, 4.05) will try to snap a string of four straight winless outings. The right-hander has given up one run in each of his past two games but hasn’t pitched past the fifth inning in either one.
Karns yielded two hits and one walk in five scoreless innings Sunday against Baltimore but the Rays bullpen couldn’t hold a two-run lead in a 4-2 defeat. He will likely be fresher for this game since he threw 66 pitches after averaging 100.4 in his first five outings.
Logan Forsythe, batting .361 in his last nine games, is 1 for 7 with three strikeouts lifetime against Gallardo.