Texas (20-15) at Toronto (20-16)

Cloudy Currently: Toronto, ON
Temp: 73° F
  • Game info: 7:07 pm EDT Fri May 14, 2010
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Vernon Wells(notes) had a tough series to close out the Toronto Blue Jays’ 10-game road trip. He could be facing the right opponent to bounce back.

Wells looks to snap a 0-for-12 slump Friday night when the Blue Jays start a three-game home set against the Texas Rangers.

This is the worst three-game stretch of the season for Wells, who went hitless as Toronto (20-16) lost two of three at Boston. It was a far cry from what the outfielder did in the first series of 2010 as he went 6 for 10 and drove in seven runs to help the Blue Jays take two of three at Texas, putting to rest questions about whether a nagging wrist injury was still a concern.

“I guess (Wells’) wrist is well, because every pitch we made a mistake to him on, he didn’t miss it,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said after the series.

That series also saw Aaron Hill(notes) go 1 for 8 in two games before he was placed on the disabled list with a tight right hamstring. He’s mired in a 2-for-28 slump and hitting .181 after he was a late scratch Wednesday in a 3-2 win over the Red Sox.

The second baseman had a breakout 2009, batting .285 and finishing eighth in the majors with 195 hits.

“There’s nothing different from last year other than I’m just missing balls,” Hill told the Blue Jays’ official website. “There’s no excuses. There’s nothing that I would change. It’s just getting back, getting ready and (the hits) are going to come.”

A return to the lineup against Texas (20-15) could cure his woes. Since Hill went 0 for 4 against the Rangers on July 29, 2005, he’s hitting .373 during a 16-game hitting streak against them at home.

Hill is 1 for 7 with three strikeouts against Texas starter Rich Harden(notes) (2-1, 3.53 ERA), who is 2-0 with a 2.82 ERA over four straight victories for the Rangers. Harden gave up two runs over five innings Saturday and did not get a decision in a 3-2 win over Kansas City.

Toronto and Baltimore are the only AL teams Harden has never beaten. The right-hander is 0-3 with a 4.54 ERA in seven career starts against the Blue Jays, going 0-2 with a 10.61 ERA in two outings in his native Canada.

The Rangers expect to get a major addition to their lineup this weekend after Vladimir Guerrero’s(notes) RBI single in the 12th inning Thursday gave them a 2-1 win over Oakland and capped a 6-1 homestand.

Nelson Cruz(notes), who homered seven times in his first 11 games, is expected to be activated off the disabled list after being out since April 26 with a hamstring injury. Cruz went deep twice and drove in five runs in last month’s series against the Blue Jays.

He’s homered once in three at-bats against Toronto starter Brett Cecil(notes) (2-2, 3.12), who has alternated wins and losses through four starts. Cecil gave up three runs over 5 1-3 innings Saturday in a 7-3 loss at Chicago.

Cecil got credit for an 18-10 victory over the Rangers on Aug. 31, 2009, despite allowing seven runs in five innings.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Harden Min vs. B. Cecil Tor
5-5 Record 15-7
5.58 ERA 4.22
75 K 117
62 BB 54
1.66 WHIP 1.33


Friday, May 14