Although injuries have wrecked the Texas Rangers' season, manager Ron Washington chose to question his team's level of commitment last week. Washington will look for signs of improvement in that regard as the Rangers try to avoid their first nine-game skid since 2003 and win for only the fourth time in 26 games Monday when they begin a three-game set at the Toronto Blue Jays. Texas leads the majors in disabled list uses (21, eight shy of the club record) and current players on the DL (15).
"Commitment is doing what the game asks you to do and not looking for a reward … I'm in the process of getting this new bunch to understand what it means. Some people need to check their attitude and check what commitment is," Washington told the team's official site. The Rangers (38-57), who own the worst record in the majors, will try to even their season series with the Blue Jays at two games apiece in the opener. Toronto (49-47) has lost eight of its last 10 overall, but entered the All-Star break with a winning record for the first time since 2006.
TV: 7:07 p.m. ET, TXA-21 (Texas), SNET (Toronto)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rangers RH Yu Darvish (8-5, 2.97 ERA) vs. Blue Jays RH R.A. Dickey (7-9, 3.82)
Darvish took his third setback in the last four decisions after enduring one of his worst starts of the season in a July 9 home loss to the Houston Astros. The three-time All-Star was tagged for six earned runs on 10 hits - both season highs - over six frames and has surrendered at least four runs in five of his last seven outings after doing so only once in his first 10. Darvish was saddled with the loss after allowing two runs over eight innings despite fanning 11 Blue Jays on May 16, falling to 2-2 with a 2.63 ERA in six all-time starts against Toronto.
The 39-year-old Dickey was unable to mount his first winning streak since May 24-June 4 after losing for the fifth time in his last six turns in Sunday's 3-0 defeat versus the Tampa Bay Rays. The 2012 National League Cy Young Award winner, who yielded two runs on five hits over six innings, is 1-2 in three July outings despite a 1.71 ERA. Dickey lost to the Rangers for the first time in his career on May 18, allowing four runs (three earned) over 6 1/3 innings to fall to 2-1 with a 2.91 ERA in six appearances (three starts) against them.
1. Texas set a major-league record by using 50 players before the All-Star break and has already tied a single-season club mark by using 30 pitchers.
2. Toronto SS Jose Reyes is batting .375 during a nine-game hitting streak.
3. The Rangers' Adrian Beltre can break his tie with Gary Gaetti (2,282) for third place in major-league history for most games played at third base on Friday.
PREDICTION: Rangers 5, Blue Jays 2