The Cleveland Indians, and especially Lonnie Chisenhall, are surely disappointed this is the last time they'll see the Texas Rangers in 2014.
The only Texas pitcher to beat Cleveland this year is ace Yu Darvish, though Chisenhall and the Indians have reason to be confident against him Sunday at Progressive Field as they seek a sixth straight win in the season series.
That would give Cleveland (55-55) its most consecutive victories over Texas (43-67) since taking six straight meetings between 2006 and 2007. The Indians' only longer win streaks in this series were seven-game runs over the Washington Senators in 1967 and bridging 1964-65.
Chisenhall has keyed this streak, highlighted by a 5-for-5 night in Arlington on June 9 in which he had three homers and nine RBIs. Half of his 10 home runs and 15 of his 43 RBIs this season have come against Texas as he's batted .500 in six matchups.
"I put together that one good game, and somehow you get the feeling every night," he said. "You see the Rangers and think you're gonna have a good game."
Seeing Texas this weekend got him out of a prolonged slump. He had gone 14 games without an RBI and 23 without a homer before going deep in Friday's 12-2 win. Chisenhall also singled that night after entering the series in a 3-for-29 funk, and he followed with the tiebreaking RBI single in the sixth inning Saturday as Cleveland won 2-0.
Chisenhall hit a three-run homer off Darvish on June 6 in the clubs' first meeting and the Indians had nine hits against him, but the right-hander allowed only one other run in seven innings of the 6-4 victory. His only other two starts against them came in Cleveland, losing both as he yielded five runs and walked eight in 12 innings.
Of the 57 outs Darvish has recorded against the Indians, 30 have been via strikeouts.
Seven Indians who started Saturday are switch-hitters or bat left-handed, and the six homers Darvish (10-6, 2.90 ERA) has served up in his last five starts have all come to hitters batting from the left side.
Darvish has been inconsistent of late, with a 4.31 ERA over his last eight starts.
He was in danger of turning a good outing into a bad one Monday with runners at second and third in the seventh against the Yankees. However, he got a strikeout to end what would be his final inning, prompting the usually placid Darvish to yell and repeatedly pump his fist coming off the mound with a 4-2 lead Texas would hold.
"That was an example of his competitive juices," said manager Ron Washington, whose Rangers have lost 32 of 40.
Yan Gomes is 3 for 3 off Darvish this year and batting .400 with 13 RBIs in his last 16 games.
Trevor Bauer (4-6, 4.25) will oppose Darvish again after doing so in June, when he didn't get a decision after giving up four runs in 6 1-3 innings.
Bauer had posted four straight quality starts before getting pulled after 4 1-3 innings Tuesday, ripped for a season-high five runs and eight hits in a 5-2 loss to Seattle.
He's facing a Texas club that has totaled six runs during a five-game road losing streak. The Rangers have dropped 18 of 21 outside Arlington as well as five straight in Cleveland, getting shut out in three of the last four.
"Our offense is just not getting it done right now," Washington said. "... Sometimes, all it takes is one ground ball or a fly ball to get you going. I don't care how it happens. We just need to push some runs across the plate."
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved