The Texas Rangers' Yu Darvish has mainly struggled in his three starts since the All-Star break but he had an effective performance against the Los Angeles Angels.
The right-hander will try to produce another such outing Wednesday night while denying the Angels their first three-game win streak in a little more than a month.
Darvish (11-7, 4.05 ERA) was among the final players to make the AL roster for the All-Star game but hasn't pitched like one in two of his last three starts. He gave up a career-high seven runs at Seattle during his first start back from the break on July 14 and six over 6 1-3 innings to the Chicago White Sox on Friday, the most he's allowed at home this season.
Darvish is 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA over his last two starts in Arlington after winning each of his first seven.
"Overall it was not a good game," he said through a translator.
Darvish had a better effort against the Angels (57-47) on July 21, giving up two runs and three hits over seven innings in a 9-2 road victory. He's 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA in three starts against Los Angeles and gave up three runs and three hits over 5 1-3 innings in his only matchup in Texas, a 10-3 victory May 11.
Darvish has stymied Albert Pujols in those outings, giving up one single in eight at-bats, but the Angels slugger will enter this game after hitting a pair of homers in a 6-2 victory Tuesday. Mike Trout, who homered for the second straight game, is 4 for 9 with one longball against Darvish and is hitting .442 against the Rangers (59-43) this season
Trout set an AL rookie record for home runs in July with 10 and tied a major league rookie mark with 32 runs scored in the month.
"I just went out there and played my game," he said. "It's being more comfortable out there."
With Trout's help, Los Angeles will try to continue cutting into Texas' lead in the AL West by earning a third straight win for the first time since a four-game run June 24-28. The Rangers, 4-7 against the Angels this season, will attempt to avoid their first three-game skid since a season-high five consecutive defeats July 1-6.
Texas will make that attempt against Garrett Richards (3-2, 3.91) instead of Dan Haren, who is still dealing with stiffness in his right side.
Richards heads into this start after failing to follow up on a superb outing in Detroit on July 17. The right-hander tossed seven scoreless innings in that game but gave up four runs over five frames during a 4-1 loss to Kansas City last Tuesday.
"I'm going to go out and I'm going to pitch my game," he told the team's website. "I'm going to attack guys. I'm going to pitch in and get ahead early."
Richards has no record and a 1.59 ERA in two career starts against the Rangers but threw only 19 pitches during the first of those on Aug. 15, 2011, before leaving with a strained groin.