Rangers, D-backs look to get back on winning track
The Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks will look to get back on the winning track after offensively challenged starts to their respective seasons when they square off on Tuesday at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
The Rangers (1-2) continue their season-opening (and stadium-debuting) homestand after having won the first-ever regular-season contest in their new stadium on Friday versus Colorado. Texas then dropped the final two outings of the three-game set against the Rockies, including a 5-2 setback on Sunday afternoon.
The Rangers have scored just five runs — total — in their first three games.
Texas plays its first eight games against teams from the National League West — it will host Arizona again on Wednesday afternoon before playing in San Francisco July 31-Aug. 2 — in the COVID-19-imposed schedule.
Kyle Gibson will make his Rangers’ debut on Tuesday. Gibson signed as a free agent last winter after winning 13 games for the Twins in 2019. His only start against the D-backs came in 2014 when he held them to one run over seven innings in a 6-3 win.
Gibson gave up three home runs in five innings of work in the Rangers’ 5-1 exhibition game loss to Colorado on July 21. Gibson, normally one of the top ground-ball pitchers in the game, gave up three other hits and retired eight batters on fly balls.
And while the Rangers’ new home has appeared to be a pitcher-friendly facility in its first games, Gibson has to rely on his strengths to be successful.
“I think the ball was up just a little bit,” Gibson told mlb.com. “In some of the situations with the home runs, I probably threw the wrong pitch at the wrong time, and probably the ones they were looking for.”
On Monday, Texas announced that right-hander Cory Kluber, who was acquired in an offseason trade with Cleveland, will miss at least the next month with a Grade 2 tear in a muscle in the back of his right shoulder.
The Diamondbacks (1-3) head to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex after a 6-2 loss at San Diego on Monday afternoon. Arizona’s only win in the four-game series was a 4-3 come-from-behind victory on Sunday that allowed it to avoid a season-opening sweep.
The Diamondbacks have been outscored a combined 21-9 in their first four games.
Merrill Kelly is set to start on the mound on Tuesday for Arizona. Kelly won the fifth spot in the rotation by beating out lefty Alex Young during Summer Camp and after veteran Mike Leake elected not to play this season.
“I’m excited about it — I love having that fifth day as your day and the preparation that goes into it and being a starter,” Kelly said. “Some dominoes fell in the right places for me to be able to take that opportunity, but I plan on taking that opportunity and running with it as best I can.”
Kelly threw well during camp. The 31-year-old right-hander made 32 starts for the Diamondbacks in his first big-league season in 2019 and forged a 4.42 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP with 158 strikeouts in 183 1/3 innings.
Tuesday’s game is the first of four between the two teams this season, with the Rangers traveling to Phoenix for a two-game series Sept. 22-23.
–Field Level Media