Rangers-Mets Preview

The Associated Press

A rain delay kept Yu Darvish off the mound for his scheduled start at Baltimore. Opposing batters had taken care of that in his past two outings on the road.

After his turn in the rotation was pushed back a day, Darvish will look to help the spiraling Texas Rangers avoid their longest road skid in 11 years Friday night against the New York Mets, who may have David Wright back in the lineup.

Darvish (8-4, 2.42 ERA) was slated to take the mound Friday, but a rain delay of nearly an hour combined with a forecast calling for more rain led manager Ron Washington to keep his ace in the dugout.

While Darvish rested, Texas (37-48) was beaten by the Orioles 5-2 for its first nine-game road losing streak since 2005. The Rangers haven't endured a longer slide as the visitor since dropping 12 in a row from May 30-June 19, 2003.

Darvish is looking to bounce back on the road, where he's surrendered 12 runs - eight earned - with 17 strikeouts and nine walks in his last two outings. He hasn't lost three straight away from home since a four-game slide as a rookie from May 6-June 7, 2012.

The right-hander, though, was outstanding at home Saturday, collecting 10 strikeouts and allowing four hits in eight innings of a 5-0 win over Minnesota. He's tossed 20 straight scoreless innings in his last three at home, winning them all behind a 1.50 ERA.

"I thought he was Yu Darvish again," Washington said. "I don't care how good you are. There will be bumps in the road. There will be times when things don't go right. And that even can happen for Yu Darvish."

A two-time All-Star and last year's runner-up for the AL Cy Young, Darvish is 6-1 with a 1.32 ERA in eight career interleague starts. He's allowed one run with 50 strikeouts in 37 2-3 innings while winning four of his last five.

He's facing the Mets (37-48) for the first time and may have to contend with Wright, who has missed six games with a sore left shoulder.

New York could certainly use its All-Star third baseman. Wright was hitting .385 with six doubles, two homers and eight RBIs in 10 games before being sidelined.

The Mets have dropped seven of eight to fall a season-worst 11 games under .500, including four in a row after managing five singles in Wednesday's 3-1 loss at Atlanta.

"Obviously we miss David's bat in the lineup, there's no doubt," manager Terry Collins said. "We competed as good as we can compete."

Wright owns a .364 average while driving in 20 runs in 23 home interleague games.

While Wright's potential return could be a boost for the Mets, giving the ball to Jonathon Niese (5-4, 2.88) could also help since their only victory in the past eight games came with him on the mound.

Niese has gotten plenty of run support while winning his last two starts. He's been backed by 16 runs while allowing just three, working six innings in each outing.

That's a welcome change after he compiled a 2.62 ERA in his previous five starts but went 0-1 because he was backed by two runs or fewer in all of them.

Niese's only meeting with Texas was a 14-5 road win on June 25, 2011, in which he allowed two solo homers in 5 2-3 innings.

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