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Rangers look for home-field run before break, starting with Twins

Sportsnaut
Jun 28, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA;  Texas Rangers starting pitcher Jon Gray (22) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Riding a four-game road losing streak, including three straight by one run, the Texas Rangers will look for a home-field advantage when they take on the Minnesota Twins in the first of three games in Arlington, Texas, on Friday night.

Texas hasn’t been able to find that advantage yet, though, posting a 17-20 record at Globe Life Field. But now would be a good time for the Rangers to find their stride as they embark on a 10-game homestand leading into the All-Star break.

A common theme for Texas, home or away, is the trend of losing the close ones. They’re 4-17 in one-run games.

“That’s kind of the summary of our season,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said, per MLB.com. “We have a lot of ups and downs and tough ones like that, because we play a lot of close games … it’s gut-wrenching.”

Both the Rangers and Twins had a day off on Thursday and will be looking to regroup on Friday

The pitching matchup features Sonny Gray (4-1, 2.47 ERA) for the Twins, and Jon Gray (4-4, 3.96) — no relation — going for the Rangers.

The American League Central-leading Twins dealt with a frustrating loss of their own in their series finale with the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday. Unable to protect a two-run lead in the eighth inning, they lost 9-8 in 10 innings.

After being swept by the Baltimore Orioles, the Rangers are 3-7 in their last 10 games, and they have lost six of seven.

Sonny Gray has enjoyed his share of success against the Rangers. In his 10-year MLB career, the right-hander has a 9-3 record with a 2.86 ERA in 94 1/3 innings over 15 appearances (14 starts) while facing Texas.

Right-hander Jon Gray will be pitching against the Twins for the first time.

Rangers first baseman Nathaniel Lowe has been hot of late, hitting .308 with two homers and five RBIs in his past seven games.

The Twins, meanwhile, have held their own in close games, and are 14-12 in one-run games. Minnesota also is just above .500 in road games, entering the weekend series 22-20 away.

Despite Wednesday’s loss to the White Sox, the Twins still took two of three in the series. Second baseman Jorge Polanco belted two home runs in the loss, and now has 12 on the season.

“We played well,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said postgame Wednesday. “We executed a lot. We had a lot of good swings.

“As a whole, I was pleased with what I saw. It’s hard to come in here and play like that, and feel like you have the last game in hand as well. It’s never in hand. You have to finish them and finish them strong, and we didn’t finish as strong as we needed to.”

The Twins led the AL Central by 4 1/2 games over the Cleveland Guardians entering Thursday.

“I don’t know how many games we would be up if we were able to close out all the games that we were ahead,” catcher Ryan Jeffers told MLB.com. “To an extent, it gives us some sort of confidence knowing that we clearly are the best team in the division. With that being sad, we also know that if we want to get to where we want to go, we need to be able to close these games out.”

— Field Level Media