Blue Jays-Rangers Preview

The Associated Press

A matchup with the sputtering Texas Rangers might be just what R.A. Dickey needs to break out of his funk.

The Toronto Blue Jays knuckleballer will try to rebound Saturday and become the latest pitcher to stifle the Rangers, who will unexpectedly have second baseman Ian Kinsler back in the lineup.

Dickey (5-8, 5.11 ERA) has yielded at least six runs in three of his last four starts, and had to deal with a dense fog Monday on Chicago's South Side. The right-hander gave up seven runs and 10 hits over five innings in a 10-6 defeat to the White Sox.

"It was the first time I've ever played in those conditions. It was tough. But I had opportunities to make big pitches with two outs," he said.

Dickey will try to get back on track in his second career start against the Rangers (38-29), and first since 2008, with Seattle.

He'll face a team that's batting .216 and has scored 36 runs in 13 games this month, going 4-9. Texas has plated five runs during a season-high four consecutive defeats, all at home.

Elvis Andrus showed his frustration Friday by getting ejected for arguing a called third strike in the sixth inning.

"When going through the spells they're going through, they're going to get upset," manager Ron Washington said. "If they don't get upset, that probably means they don't care."

The Rangers had five singles in an 8-0 loss to the Blue Jays (30-36), who are on the verge of matching their longest win streak in 2013.

"This is what we believed since the beginning that we could do," designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion said. "So we know what we can do and we want to keep doing it."

Texas will try to avoid dropping five straight at home for the first time since Sept. 13-18, 2009. The Rangers are 1-4 against the Blue Jays this season.

The club will get some offensive help with the return of Kinsler, who will lead off after sitting out since May 18 with bruised ribs. Kinsler, hitting .302 with seven home runs and 20 RBIs, hadn't been expected to come off the disabled list for another day or two.

Texas' Josh Lindblom (0-1, 5.91) will try to deny Toronto from winning four straight for the first time since May 11-15 in his third major league start.

After being recalled from the minors to fill in for an injured Alexi Ogando, Lindblom gave up three runs and five hits over a career-high six innings Monday and did not get a decision in a 6-3 win against Cleveland. The right-hander, who has totaled 103 appearances in the majors, also fanned a career-best six batters while issuing one walk.

"In both my starts I've had to go out there and battle, but the other team doesn't care about that," Lindblom told the team's official website. "I was able to compete, even though I didn't have my best fastball, and I was able to keep them off balance."

The Rangers are hoping Jeff Baker can return to help the team's fledgling starter. The utility player sprained his right thumb on a high-five from a teammate in Thursday's opener and is day to day.

Baker is batting .317 with nine home runs, his most since he hit a career-best 12 for Colorado in 2008.

Baker has never faced R.A. Dickey but catcher A.J. Pierzynski is 4 for 9 with a home run and a double all-time versus the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner.

Mark DeRosa is the only current Blue Jays player to register more than one hit against Lindblom, going 2 for 2.

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