The Cleveland Guardians seem to be hitting their stride, which is a bad sign for the struggling Texas Rangers ahead of the teams’ doubleheader scheduled for Tuesday in Cleveland.
The original series opener was postponed on Monday due to inclement weather. The teams will play a traditional doubleheader on Tuesday starting at 3:10 p.m. Eastern.
The Guardians enter the series on a good note, having won five of their last six games and six of eight.
They are also 17-13 since April 29 and are one game below .500 at 24-25. The Guardians hope to reach the .500 mark for the first time since May 14 when they were 16-16.
One of Cleveland’s hottest pitchers will throw in the first game, as right-hander Cal Quantrill (2-3, 3.52 ERA) makes the start. This will be his first career start against the Rangers, even though he has faced them twice in relief and has not given up an earned run.
He will oppose right-hander Jon Gray (1-2, 4.83), who has never faced the Guardians. The eight-year veteran has been on the injured list twice this season, with a left knee sprain and a blister on his right middle finger.
Gray comes off his best outing of the season, when he fanned 12 over seven innings on one-run, three-hit ball vs. the Tampa Bay Rays. That start was one of only two this season at home for Gray, where his strikeout rate is nearly double than on the road (14.2 strikeouts per nine innings at home, compared to 7.6 on road).
This will be Gray’s team-high seventh road start of 2022, where he is 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA. Gray has gone winless (0-3, 6.44) in his last eight starts on the road, dating back to Sept. 14, 2021, at Atlanta when he pitched for the Colorado Rockies.
The Rangers have lost four of their last five games. However, Texas finished 17-10 in May, its first winning month since June 2019.
Texas has gone 8-18 vs. Cleveland since the start of the 2017 season, its lowest winning percentage (.308) against any AL team in that span.
The Rangers matched their season high with four home runs on Sunday in a 6-5 loss to the Seattle Mariners. Texas has homered in a season-high nine consecutive games.
Marcus Semien has three homers in his last nine games. He started the season without a home run in his first 43 games.
Rangers manager Chris Woodward said his team was “a little bit unlucky” in the loss to Seattle on Sunday.
“We had a chance to win,” he said. “We gave them a lot of freebies. It was a good learning experience.”
It will be a battle of left-handers in the second game of the doubleheader, as Guardians rookie Konnor Pilkington (1-0, 2.65) will face Taylor Hearn (3-4, 5.48).
Pilkington has never faced Texas. Hearn is 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA in one career start against Cleveland.
The Guardians are hoping to send right-hander Aaron Civale, on the IL with a left glute pull, on a rehab assignment soon.
Starting catcher Austin Hedges, who has a sore left hip, could be back in the lineup Tuesday. He missed Sunday’s game in Baltimore.
Reliever James Karinchak, who has yet to pitch in the majors this year due to arm problems, pitched one-third of an inning Wednesday for Class AAA Columbus.
Cleveland is taking its time with designated hitter Franmil Reyes, who pulled a hamstring on May 26. Manager Terry Francona said he’s doing “terrific.” He said there’s no timetable for his return.
“We want to set him up for success going forward,” Francona said.
–Field Level Media