Rangers-Red Sox Preview

Clay Buchholz has dropped his last five home starts and is winless in his last five overall against the Texas Rangers.

The Rangers may find a resurgent Buchholz more difficult to hit than those facts would indicate, however, as they seek to capture this three-game series Thursday night against the Boston Red Sox.

Buchholz (2-4, 4.93 ERA) has posted a 6.28 ERA during his home losing streak which goes back to last season. The Texan is 0-4 with a 5.40 ERA in his last five outings against the Rangers.

The right-hander has pitched well on the road in his last two starts, however. He yielded three runs in 6 1-3 innings to beat Toronto on May 10, then allowed one run with a season-high 11 strikeouts over eight innings in Friday's 2-1 loss to Seattle in which he did not factor in the decision.

"I've felt pretty good all year," Buchholz told MLB's official website. "There's been two lopsided games that just haven't worked out. Other than that, I felt like the stuff is good."

Buchholz can also take confidence from his past results against several Rangers stars. He has limited Shin-Soo Choo to a double in 12 at-bats, Adrian Beltre to two doubles in 11 at-bats and Prince Fielder to two singles in eight. Elvis Andrus is 5 for 11 in this matchup.

These clubs split one-run games to start this series. Boston won 4-3 on Tuesday before Texas (17-23) responded with a 2-1 victory.

The Red Sox (19-21) have baseball's worst average against left-handers at .199 as they face southpaw Wandy Rodriguez (1-2, 3.86), who has never faced them.

Rodriguez allowed a season-high five runs over 4 2-3 innings in Friday's 8-3 loss to Cleveland after a stretch over his previous two starts in which he set a Texas record by retiring 34 straight batters. He is 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA in three road outings.

Numerous Boston hitters have faced Rodriguez, with Hanley Ramirez going 10 for 24, Shane Victorino 6 for 18 and Pablo Sandoval 2 for 9.

Sandoval is day to day after he sat out Wednesday with a sore left knee. He has three singles in 26 at-bats in his last eight games and is 2 for 41 off left-handers for an .049 average that is baseball's worst.

"I want to play," Sandoval said. "I don't know what the situation (will be)."

Mookie Betts is hitting .158 against left-handers, Dustin Pedroia .200 and David Ortiz is at .136.

Boston lamented leaving 12 runners on base Wednesday, including eight in the last four innings.

"There were a number of times where guys squared the ball up and you'd see either someone running in the gap or someone was standing right there to field it," manager John Farrell said.

Mike Napoli is 4 for 8 in this series and 11 for 28 in eight home games against the Rangers since leaving them and joining the Red Sox as a free agent before 2013.

Fielder is hitting .400 with three homers and nine RBIs during a nine-game hitting streak. He is second in the AL with a .348 average.

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