Rangers-Indians Preview

The Texas Rangers entered a nine-game road trip with one of the worst records in the AL.

They hope to exit above .500.

Looking to extend baseball's longest active winning streak, Texas wraps up its outstanding road swing Wednesday against the Cleveland Indians.

Texas (23-23) relied on its power bats Tuesday as Prince Fielder hit a three-run homer and Mitch Moreland belted a go-ahead solo shot in the eighth inning to lift Texas to a 4-3 victory, its seventh straight.

The Rangers, who finished 2014 with 67 wins, have not been above .500 since they were 31-30 on June 6.

Texas last won eight straight Aug. 4-12, 2013.

''The reality is the day we start worrying about if we're .500 or one game over or below .500 really goes against the concept that we set out for all of spring training,'' manager Jeff Banister said. ''Ultimately you set out to win the game today with the idea you're end goal is to get to the playoffs.''

Fielder has led the charge with a torrid five-game stretch. He is 14 for 24 with five home runs and 15 RBIs, and is 6 for 10 this series with a homer in each of the last two games.

''What he's doing right now is unbelievable,'' Moreland said. ''He's making it look easy.''

Moreland also has been a major contributor, batting .341 with four homers and nine RBIs in his last 10 games.

He's 3 for 6 against scheduled starter Carlos Carrasco (5-4, 4.74 ERA), who allowed five runs over eight innings in a 5-1 loss at Texas on May 17. He surrendered a two-run homer to Moreland in that contest and gave up a pair of singles to Fielder, who is 5 for 9 with a home run lifetime in this matchup.

Carrasco was sharper in a 7-3 victory over Cincinnati on Friday, yielding two runs with seven strikeouts in six innings.

The right-hander ranks among the major league leaders with 10.58 strikeouts per nine innings.

He has yet to recreate the excellence he displayed with a 1.13 ERA in his final three starts of 2014, but manager Terry Francona sees plenty to be encouraged with in Carrasco's development.

"When he has his extra velocity, it makes him that much better, but when he doesn't, he's still got other pitches to go to or command," Francona told MLB's official website. "Now he's getting more comfortable and that helps."

Carrasco's peripheral statistics indicate that his ERA should plummet as the season continues. He ranks towards the top of the league with a 2.59 FIP - only slightly higher than last year's 2.47 - and opponents are batting .351 on balls in play against Carrasco, among the highest in baseball.

The Indians (20-25) opened this six-game homestand with a three-game sweep of the Reds, but are in danger of being swept at home for the first time since dropping three straight to Detroit to begin the season.

Colby Lewis (4-2, 3.49) takes the mound for Texas after posting a 7.71 ERA over his last two starts, one of which came against Cleveland when he was tagged for six runs in five innings of a 10-8 loss on May 16.

The right-hander has never fared well against the Indians, posting a 6.09 ERA in six starts.

Jason Kipnis is 10 for 22 versus Texas this season after going 1 for 4 with a home run Tuesday. He is batting a major league-best .439 this month with four homers, 14 RBIs, 12 doubles and 26 runs in 24 games.


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