video thumbnail

MIN@TEX: Darvish fans 10 over eight shutout innings

The Rangers need change, so maybe the All-Star break is coming at the perfect time for them.

Texas has dropped 22 of its last 25 games and will look to turn things around when it starts a three-game set against the Blue Jays on Friday. Manager Ron Washington asked for his team's commitment during a team meeting last Thursday, despite major struggles.

"Commitment is doing what the game asks you to do and not looking for a reward for what you're doing," Washington said. "I'm in the process of getting this new bunch to understand what it means. Don't worry about stats or numbers. It's about the team. Some people need to check their attitude and check what commitment is."

R.A. Dickey will start for the Blue Jays. He will be followed in the rotation by Marcus Stroman, Mark Buehrle, Drew Hutchison and J.A. Happ. Dickey started the final game before the All-Star break as well, allowing two runs over six strong innings in a 3-0 loss to the Rays.

Yu Darvish will oppose Dickey and the Blue Jays. He's given up at least four earned runs in four of his last five starts.

"Just a little erratic. He usually finds himself on the course of the ballgame," Washington said. "There have been a couple of games there where he's been having trouble just trying to find the pitches he wanted to use as a combination."

Following the three-game series against the Rangers, Toronto will begin a crucial divisional stretch by playing four games against the Red Sox, three against the Yankees and three more against Boston.

The Blue Jays have limped into the break, losing seven of their last nine games. After Sunday's loss, they were 3 1/2 games behind the division-leading Orioles.

"We're in second place," outfielder Jose Bautista said. "We're obviously not playing the baseball that we started off playing and that we're capable of playing. We've had a lot of injuries to deal with.

"Bottom line is, we've got to figure out how to win some of these games that we've been losing, especially close ones. Hopefully we can manage to keep winning enough games to stay in one of the top two positions in our division, and when we get all our big bats back, kind of get back in the thick of things."

Blue Jays: Bautista back in right field
Bautista has been Toronto's designated hitter or first baseman for almost two weeks, but he made his return to right field on Sunday and will be there full-time moving forward. He went 1-for-4 in the loss.

A strained hamstring he sustained on June 23 forced Bautista to miss a week, but it wasn't bad enough to put him on the disabled list.

"Definitely feeling great physically; I wouldn't say 100 percent yet, but definitely been ready for the outfield for a couple of days now," Bautista said. "No restrictions, no limitations. I'm good."

Rangers: Mikolas will get another start after break
Miles Mikolas has been shaky in his first three starts this season, but he'll get a chance at redemption after the All-Star break.

The 25-year-old righty has allowed 16 earned runs in 14 1/3 innings this month. He made 16 appearances for Triple-A Round Rock this season after being traded twice last offseason -- first from San Diego to Pittsburgh, then from Pittsburgh to Texas. The Rangers called up Mikolas on July 1 and he made his first Major League start on July 2, giving up three runs and three hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Mikolas joined the Rangers' rotation after the club designated Joe Saunders for assignment.

Worth noting
• The Blue Jays have at least 49 wins at the break for the first time since 2006. That was the last time they had a winning record heading into the Midsummer Classic. The last time Toronto had 50 wins at the break was 1992, when the club won the World Series.

• Elvis Andrus has had six seasons with at least 20 steals, which is the most 20-steal seasons in Rangers history. He stole his 20th base of the season against the Angels on Saturday. Comments