To remain atop the AL West, the Texas Rangers will likely need to regain their winning ways on the road.
A trip to Kansas City might be just what the Rangers need.
Texas will try to end a five-game road losing streak Tuesday night by earning its sixth straight win over the Royals in the opener of a two-game series.
The Rangers (25-20) have been a surprising occupant of first place in the early season and much of that success has come at home, where they’re 18-9.
Texas is 7-11 away from Arlington but that includes a five-game win streak April 22-May 3. Rangers pitchers had a 0.90 ERA during that run, but have posted an 8.55 ERA in the team’s current road losing streak, which is one shy of tying their season high set April 15-21.
Given his history against the Royals, Rich Harden(notes) (2-1, 4.74) could have a chance to help Texas get back on track as it begins a stretch of 17 of 24 on the road. The Rangers, losers of two straight following a five-game win streak, have also won seven of nine at Kauffman Stadium - where Kansas City is 8-13 this season.
The right-hander, making his fourth attempt to earn a third consecutive win, is 2-0 with a 1.78 ERA in five career starts against the Royals (18-27) and allowed two runs over five innings in a home matchup May 8.
Harden didn’t get the win in that 3-2 victory - which was part of a four-game sweep - and has not recorded a decision during contrasting performances in his past two starts. He was tagged for seven runs over 2 2-3 innings in a wild 16-10 loss in Toronto on May 14 and gave up two runs over 5 1-3 innings in Wednesday’s 4-3 comeback win over Baltimore.
“Just being inconsistent so far is frustrating,” Harden told the Rangers’ official website. “I haven’t pitched as well as I’m capable of, but I’m making progress.”
Meche had a 9.89 ERA in his first five outings but has a 2.84 ERA in his last three. However, he’s 0-1 over that span, getting outdueled by Harden on May 8.
The right-hander is 1-5 with a 4.85 ERA in his last seven starts against Texas but earned that win last season with six scoreless innings in a 12-3 rout. Meche, winless in 10 starts since Aug. 18, is 5-10 with a 5.72 ERA in 17 career starts versus the Rangers.
Kansas City will attempt to regain its momentum after back-to-back losses following a 7-2 stretch. The Royals are also trying to avoid dropping six in a row to the Rangers for the first time since a seven-game slide July 23, 1998-July 30, 1999.