Blue Jays-Rangers Preview

The Associated Press

The Texas Rangers had already received plenty of bad news Saturday. Their latest lackluster offensive performance in a loss to the Toronto Blue Jays was just the exclamation point.

They'll look to avoid a season-worst fifth straight loss in Sunday's series finale, though they could be in for more misfortune considering the way Toronto's R.A. Dickey has pitched of late.

With Saturday's 4-2 defeat to Toronto, Texas (20-23) has lost six of seven and is 5-14 since its 15-9 start tied it for the best record in the AL. Before the loss, however, the Rangers learned Martin Perez would undergo Tommy John surgery on Monday, further debilitating a rotation that already lost Matt Harrison for the season earlier in the week.

Prince Fielder received an injection Saturday morning for a stiff neck and saw his consecutive games played streak end at 547. The scuffling Fielder, who is hitting .247 with three homers and 16 RBIs, likely won't play until at least Tuesday at Seattle.

General manager Jon Daniels told the team's official website the Rangers would review their medical procedures. Their 13 players on the disabled list are the most in the majors.

"It's a little tough in the middle of it to take a step back," Daniels said. "Right now we're trying to get everybody healthy. But we're certainly going to evaluate everything, the process and the practice."

On the field, Texas has scored four runs or fewer in 10 of 12. Adrian Beltre, Leonys Martin, Alex Rios, Elvis Andrus and Shin-Soo Choo are a combined 6 for 45 (.133) with runners in scoring position during that stretch.

"We're going through a little slump," Beltre said. "It's not the first time it's happened to our team. You don't want to go through a stretch like that."

Meanwhile, the Blue Jays (23-21) have won five straight away from home and five of six overall. Toronto, which has also won eight of nine against Texas, hasn't claimed victories in six straight road games since April 7-23, 2010.

The rotation has led the way for the Blue Jays during their 5-1 stretch, with their starters posting a 1.87 ERA in those five victories. Though Mark Buehrle was denied his eighth win Saturday, he limited Texas to two runs and seven hits over 6 2-3 innings. Toronto's late offense was enough with one run in each of the final three innings.

Dickey (4-3, 4.19 ERA) will look to continue the rotation's impressive run. He's been much better recently, going 3-0 with a 2.64 ERA in his last five starts after compiling a 5.87 mark in his previous four outings. The knuckleballer limited Cleveland to two earned runs and four hits over six innings of a 5-4 victory on Tuesday.

Dickey has also been solid against the Rangers - his first big league team - going 2-0 with a 2.35 ERA in five career matchups, including wins in both starts. However, he is winless in his last four road starts dating back to last season, allowing 17 earned runs in 23 1-3 innings while issuing 16 walks.

Texas starter Nick Martinez (0-1, 2.38), who is replacing Harrison in the rotation, will make his first start since April 22 when he allowed two earned runs and six hits to Oakland over five innings. The rookie owns a 0.77 ERA in five relief appearances since spanning 11 2-3 innings.

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