The Texas Rangers are getting little help from their rotation at home, though Wandy Rodriguez believes he’s discovered the root of his troubles there.
The veteran left-hander looks to make the right adjustments and help the Rangers avoid matching their longest home skid since moving to Arlington on Friday night against the slumping San Diego Padres.
Texas (41-44) was a season-best six games over .500 and just 2 1/2 back of the AL West lead June 19 but has since gone 4-13 while dropping all eight of its home games. The starting staff hasn’t given the club much of a chance with an 11.75 ERA on the home skid.
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The Rangers, seven games back entering Thursday, are one shy of the club record for consecutive home losses since moving to Texas in 1972 following Wednesday’s 7-4 loss to Arizona. The Rangers dropped nine in a row at Arlington Stadium in May 1990.
Rodriguez has gone 5-0 with a 2.23 ERA in eight road starts, but he’s 0-4 with a 7.42 mark in six at home. He also owns a 2.63 strikeout-to-walk ratio on the road compared to a 1.40 in Arlington.
The 36-year-old suggested the mound was the culprit after allowing five runs over five innings in Saturday’s 13-0 loss to the visiting Los Angeles Angels. He sought to fix the problem by throwing off the hill in his side session this week rather than in the bullpen.
"It is a matter of him being comfortable on the mound," manager Jeff Banister told MLB’s official website. "I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. At least he did something about it."
Rodriguez (5-4, 4.23 ERA) could have an opportune matchup as he faces the Padres (39-48) for the first time since 2012. They’ve dropped 16 of 23 behind a .215 batting average and 2.82 runs per game after totaling just seven runs during the current five-game skid.
Justin Upton (3 for 30), Yonder Alonso (5 for 33), Alexi Amarista (1 for 20) and Will Venable (5 for 31) are among those scuffling. Upton is hitless in eight at-bats against Rodriguez since the start of 2011, though he’s day-to-day after sitting out Wednesday’s 5-2 loss at Pittsburgh due to oblique soreness.
Matt Kemp provided one of the few highlights with his seventh homer among San Diego’s five hits. This is the club’s longest slide since dropping six in a row last September.
"I think we’ve actually – the numbers don’t show it, this road trip – we’ve played, in my opinion, the best baseball we’ve played all season," said Andrew Cashner, who took the loss against the Pirates.
The Padres hope to provide some run support for Ian Kennedy (4-8, 4.84), who has dropped his last three starts despite posting a 2.65 ERA. He’s received just one run from the offense over that stretch.
The right-hander allowed three runs over six innings in a 3-1 loss at St. Louis on Sunday. He’s given up at least one home run in his last five starts and his 18 allowed overall rank among the most in baseball.
The Rangers, however, have gone deep just three times over their past six games. Prince Fielder, second in the AL in batting, has one homer on this homestand but is hitting .375 over his last 14 games.
This is the first meeting since Texas swept a three-game road series in June 2012.