Yu Darvish aims for his first win in seven starts on Tuesday when the Texas Rangers open a three-game series with the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
Darvish opened the year by winning seven of his first eight decisions, but is just 0-2 in six starts since May 16 despite posting a 2.66 ERA. Over that span Texas has supplied him with an average of 1.99 runs of support.
The Japanese right-hander wasn't sharp, however, his last time out on Tuesday in a loss to Oakland, as he allowed five runs (4 earned) and six hits in six innings to fall to 7-3 to go along with a 2.84 ERA.
He also struck out 10 batters in the loss and leads the majors in that category with 137 on the season.
"I didn't feel that I pitched badly but I think I gave up runs too easily," said Darvish.
Darvish, who will be throwing on extra rest, beat the Yankees the only other time he faced them last season, tossing 8 1/3 scoreless innings to defeat fellow countryman Hiroki Kuroda, who will once again be on the hill for New York Tuesday.
Kuroda won for the first time in six starts on Wednesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, as he surrendered two runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings to improve to 7-5 with a 2.78 ERA.
Kuroda is 1-2 in three starts versus the Rangers with a 2.57 ERA.
This will be the 11th matchup of Japanese starting pitchers in major league history, and the fourth involving Kuroda.
New York split a four-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend and has lost eight of its last 12. Still and all, the Yankees are only game back in the loss column of the American League East-leading Boston Red Sox.
The Rangers, meanwhile, have rebounded nicely from a six-game losing streak and enter this series having won five in a row and six of their last seven. Texas' recent surge has catapulted it back on top in the AL West, a game in front of the Oakland Athletics.
Texas, though, has lost 15 of its last 20 at Yankee Stadium.