The Texas Rangers have been the majors’ best home team in May, a distinction they bolstered with their best offensive showing of the season in their last game.
They’ll try to continue their mastery in Arlington against a Chicago Cubs team that’s been terrible on the road in interleague play.
The Rangers look to extend their home winning streak to seven and improve to 11-1 on their own field this month Friday night when they meet the Cubs, losers of 11 of their last 12 road games against the AL.
Texas (24-18) has a four-game lead in the AL West thanks to its .330 batting average and 6.6 runs per game in Arlington in May.
That hot hitting continued Thursday night, when Texas collected a season-high 20 hits and tied its season best in runs in a 13-7 win over Baltimore. Nelson Cruz(notes) had four hits and four RBIs, and was one of eight Rangers with two or more hits as Texas scored at least 10 runs for the fourth time in 14 games.
“It’s not going to happen every night, but tonight was nice,” second baseman Ian Kinsler(notes) said. “We feel like every one of us in the lineup can carry the team or drive in runs on any given night. It’s nice to have confidence in your teammates like that.”
That’s not a good sign for the Cubs, who lost six of their last seven interleague games last season, finishing 6-9. Chicago (19-23) has been swept in three of its last four interleague series on the road, with its lone win since June 2008 coming at the White Sox last season.
The Cubs had won a season high-tying four straight before falling 5-4 at Philadelphia on Thursday. Despite the defeat, Chicago was encouraged by its split with the reigning NL champion Phillies.
Chicago hopes to bounce back behind Ted Lilly(notes) (1-3, 4.65 ERA), who will take the mound in search of his first win since his season debut April 24. The left-hander has held opponents to three earned runs over seven innings in each of his last two starts.
Lilly is 4-4 with a 3.63 ERA in 13 games against the Rangers, going 1-3 with a 4.73 ERA in Arlington. He hasn’t faced Texas since not receiving a decision in a 6-5 road loss June 21, 2007.
The Rangers will counter with Colby Lewis(notes) (3-2, 3.68). After going 3-0 in his first four starts, the right-hander has gotten four runs of support over 27 2-3 innings while going 0-2 in his last four.
The right-hander will try to get back on track by rebounding from his worst start of the year. He gave up five runs in 5 2-3 innings of a 5-2 loss at Toronto on Sunday, allowing three hits but walking four.
Lewis has never faced the Cubs, who dropped two of three at Texas in 2007 to fall to 2-4 in the all-time series. The Rangers were 9-9 in interleague play in 2009.