Blue Jays-Rangers Preview

The Texas Rangers began the season with an impressive display of

power.

They then cooled off, but now appear to have rediscovered their

stroke.

After hitting eight home runs in a weekend sweep, the Rangers

will try to keep things going in the opener of a four-game home

series against the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday.

Texas (14-7) ranks second in the AL with 30 home runs, compiling

nearly half that total (13) in the first four games of a 6-0

start.

The Rangers homered only four times during a 2-6 stretch, but

appeared to regain their footing while scoring 22 runs in a

three-game weekend sweep of the Kansas City Royals.

Texas closed the set with an 8-7 victory Sunday, as Adrian

Beltre, Mike Napoli and Andres Blanco all went deep, and Michael

Young extended his hitting streak to 14 games.

“As of right now, we’re playing great,” said outfielder David

Murphy, who added a three-run double. “A few days ago, we were up

and down. It’s good to get back on track. We need to continue.”

The Rangers will try to play better against Toronto than last

season, when they dropped seven of 10 meetings overall and two of

three at home.

However, Toronto (9-12) has now lost six of eight, including the

final two games of its weekend home series against Tampa Bay. The

Blue Jays managed only four hits Sunday and fell 2-0, wasting seven

strong innings by Ricky Romero.

Toronto is batting .212 over its last eight games, scoring two

runs or fewer in five of them.

“Right now we’ve got a few guys who are trying to do too much,”

manager John Farrell said. “They’re not trusting their abilities

and letting the game come to them, particularly at the plate.”

The Blue Jays will try to get their offense going during a

10-game road trip that also includes stops in New York and Tampa

Bay.

Kyle Drabek (1-0, 3.00 ERA) will take the mound for the Toronto

on Monday, seeking improvement after failing to make it out the

sixth inning of his last two outings.

The right-hander labored against the Yankees at home Tuesday,

giving up four runs, six hits and walking four in 5 1-3 innings of

a 6-5, 10-inning victory.

Drabek, making his first start against the Rangers, has 15 walks

in 24 innings this season. The Blue Jays have won all four games

he’s pitched.

Texas will counter with Colby Lewis (1-2, 5.82), who has dropped

his last two starts. He gave up four runs and walked three in five

innings of a 15-4 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday.

Lewis, who gave up another two home runs to bring his total to

five in 17 innings this season, was pitching for the first time in

10 days after being on paternity leave.

“I felt great,” he told the Rangers’ official website. “The big

thing was my fastball was up in the zone. My other pitches were

working. I felt my fastball was there and then it would go away. It

felt I was fighting all night to get the ball down in the

zone.”

The right-hander is 2-3 with an 9.00 ERA in five starts against

the Blue Jays. He split two starts against them last year.