Astros-Rangers Preview

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, who went 0 for 3 and is batting .191 (9 for 47)

over his last 12 games, was hospitalized Friday because of an

intestinal virus. He is expected to be released within 12-24

hours.

Texas (37-27) took two of three from Houston from May 18-20.