Cellar-dwelling Rangers open 10-game homestand vs. Twins

MLB

The Texas Rangers begin a 10-game homestand on Friday night against the Minnesota Twins in Arlington, Texas. And it seems only appropriate the team is holding a Welcome Mat giveaway for the contest.

Both the Twins and the Rangers are the doormats in their respective divisions. Minnesota, the American League Central champion the last two seasons, is in last place in that division while Texas, which has lost 19 of its last 20 road contests, is pulling up the rear in the AL West.

Right-hander Mike Foltynewicz (1-7, 5.48 ERÅ), who hasn’t won a game since April 27 against the Los Angeles Angels and is off to a dreadful start in June, will start for Texas. Right-hander Jose Berrios (7-2, 3.49) gets the nod for Minnesota.

Foltynewicz is 2-0 with a 7.56 ERA in four career appearances (three starts) against the Twins but has gone eight starts since his lone victory in 2021. He has allowed 13 runs (12 earned) over 6 1/3 innings in back-to-back losses at the Colorado Rockies and against the Los Angeles Dodgers in June, allowing four homers in that span.

Foltynewicz’s last start, a 12-1 loss at Dodger Stadium on Friday, was particularly ugly. He allowed eight runs (seven earned) in just 2 2/3 innings — including a two-run homer to Max Muncy, a solo shot to Justin Turner and a three-run home run to Gavin Lux, all in the first inning.

“(The first inning) was kind of deflating,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said afterward. “Folty has been working his butt off, and I feel bad for him. But at the same time, he knows he’s got to go out and execute better than he did tonight. That’s just the bottom line. Anytime you’re down six-nothing after the first inning, you don’t really feel good about the rest of the game.”

Berrios, who is 2-1 with a 5.75 ERA in four career starts against the Rangers, has won five of his last eight starts. He comes in off a sparkling performance in his last outing against the Houston Astros on Saturday afternoon in Minneapolis.

Berrios held the Astros to just three hits while tossing six shutout innings to start the game. He gave up back-to-back solo homers to Kyle Tucker and Robel Garcia in the seventh and finished allowing two runs on five hits over seven innings while striking out eight. It was his 24th consecutive regular-season start during which he has allowed four or fewer runs.

“That’s one of the best lineups in baseball,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He attacked them. He got them out in the zone. You have to because they kind of force you to do that. You might get them to expand a little bit here and there, but you’re going to have to beat them in the zone, and he did that.”

Five of the eight strikeouts by Berrios came on called strikes.

Despite its road struggles — Texas is a woeful 10-27 away from home — the Rangers did win three of four games against the Twins on May 3-6 at Target Field. Berrios did not pitch in that series.

Minnesota comes in off a 7-2 victory at Seattle on Wednesday night that saw Nelson Cruz hit a three-run homer, the 431st of his career to move into a tie with Cal Ripken Jr. for 49th place on the all-time list. However, third baseman Josh Donaldson (right calf tightness) and shortstop Andrelton Simmons (left ankle tightness) both left that contest with injuries.

The Rangers surrendered six home runs in their last game, an 8-4 loss at Houston on Wednesday.

–Field Level Media

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