Even mired in their current rough stretch, the Texas Rangers remain confident. A visit from the Kansas City Royals could give them reason to be optimistic.
The Rangers look to avoid a third straight loss overall while trying for a sixth consecutive home victory over the visiting Royals on Friday night.
Texas (11-7) has dropped six of eight since a 9-1 start, but the reigning AL champions are not too worried after dropping consecutive series to Detroit, New York and Los Angeles.
"We're playing good baseball. Other teams are playing good baseball too,' Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We're only in April. ... No time to panic, we'll be fine. It's April.'
The Rangers might have a good chance to get back on track this weekend.
Texas went 7-2 versus Kansas City (12-7) last season, which included a four-game home sweep in May. The Rangers have won nine of 12 at home against the Royals.
However, Texas likely will need to regroup at the plate where they totaled five runs while dropping two straight to the Angels. Elvis Andrus had two hits and Michael Young drove in the lone run in Wednesday's 4-1 loss.
Young has fared well through the team's struggles, batting .409 with seven RBIs during an 11-game hitting streak. He's hitting .488 with two homers and nine RBIs in his last 11 games versus Kansas City.
The Rangers averaged 6.5 runs during their home sweep of the Royals in 2010, but could be in for a tough challenge against scheduled Kansas City starter Jeff Francis (0-1, 3.00 ERA).
Francis has not allowed more than three runs in any of his four starts, and has walked just three overall. He gave up three runs without a walk in 6 1-3 innings of a 3-2 loss to Seattle on Sunday.
Francis, however, has received an average 3.00 runs of support.
"It's a shame we can't seem to score runs for him,' Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He doesn't give in. He makes the pitches he needs to make.'
The left-hander will face Texas for the first time since allowing five runs in 5 2-3 innings of an 8-6 loss on June 23, 2006 while with Colorado.
Texas hopes Derek Holland (2-1, 3.66) can bounce back in the opener after he allowed five runs and two homers in 7 2-3 innings of a 5-2 loss at New York on Saturday.
"Nobody makes 100 perfect pitches," said Holland, who allowed three runs in his first two outings of 2011.
The left-hander lost his only start against the Royals, giving up four runs in 4 2-3 innings at Kansas City in 2009.
Alex Gordon, who has never faced Holland, doubled to extend his hitting streak to 15 games Thursday as the Royals scored twice in the ninth to rally for a 3-2 win over Cleveland.
It was the fifth time the Royals have won in their final at-bat.
"This team does not give up. It just does not give up,' said starting pitcher Sean O'Sullivan.
Gordon is hitting .394 in the last 15 games, while Wilson Betemit is batting .405 during his 12-game hitting streak and former Ranger Jeff Francoeur .404 over an 11-game run.
Though the Royals have won twice in five games, they rank among the major league leaders with a .269 batting average.
The Associated Press News Service
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