While Texas' Yu Darvish hopes a return home will help him avoid a third straight defeat, the Minnesota Twins need Phil Hughes to continue his road success as they try to end their struggles away from Target Field.
Looking to get back on track, Darvish tries to record a third consecutive winning home start and help the Rangers extend the Twins' road skid to 10 games Saturday.Darvish (7-4, 2.62 ERA) allowed 12 runs -- eight earned -- and walked nine while striking out 17 in 11 innings to lose his last two starts that happen to come on the road. The right-hander gave up five runs and two homers in six innings of a 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday."We might have found a little something in his mechanics that he might be able to work out, and get a little more action on his pitches," Rangers catcher Chris Gimenez said. "It might be an easy fix."Whether that happens remains to be seen, but at least Darvish should feel glad to be home where he is 3-2 with a 2.12 ERA in seven starts. He tossed a six-hitter and struck out 10 during a 6-0 win over Miami in his most recent outing there June 11.Darvish is 0-1 in two starts against the Twins (36-42) despite a 2.92 ERA in those games.The Rangers (36-43) snapped an eight-game skid by holding on for a 5-4 win in Friday's series opener. Adrian Beltre homered and Shin-Soo Choo added three hits in his return to the leadoff spot for Texas, which prevailed despite four ninth-inning runs by Minnesota."It's nice to end any negative streak," said Beltre, who is 30 for 60 with five home runs and 17 RBIs in his last 16 home contests.Minnesota (36-42), meanwhile, is mired in its longest road slide since dropping 11 in a row Sept. 3-24, 2011. The Twins are 0-4 on a six-game trip that followed their four-game home sweep of the Chicago White Sox."They keep plugging away and we've come up close a couple of times but they're still losses," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We got to figure out a way to win. Got to get some hits early."It would appear the Twins have a solid chance to end their road slide behind Hughes (8-3, 3.40), who is 5-1 with a 2.06 ERA in seven starts away from home.The right-hander allowed three hits over 14 1/3 scoreless innings in his first two starts at Texas while with the New York Yankees, but including the postseason, is 0-3 with a 7.94 ERA in his last four there.Hughes also hopes for a better performance after he gave up five runs and eight hits in five innings of a 6-5 home win over the White Sox on Sunday.Despite his team's recent struggles, Twins star Joe Mauer is batting .406 in his last eight games. He's 1 for 3 with a walk versus Darvish.Beltre is batting .217 (5 for 23) with a homer against Hughes.Teammate Alex Rios is 0 for 18 in the last five home games, but batting .481 (13 for 27) with four doubles and a home run off Hughes.
Since the start of the 2013 season, Adrian Beltre is hitting .345 in at-bats ending with a pitch in the upper third of the strike zone or higher, seventh highest among qualified hitters over that time. Phil Hughes is throwing 39 percent of his pitches this season in that location, third highest among qualified pitchers.
Darvish still has time to catch Dwight Gooden on this list.