Perhaps Yu Darvish just left his control at home.
The Japanese rookie has lost back-to-back starts for the first time in the majors and he hopes a return to Texas can get him back on track as the Rangers kick off a three-game series versus the Houston Astros.
Darvish is 7-4 with a 3.72 earned run average in 12 starts this season, with all four losses coming on the road. That includes recent back-to-back defeats at the Angels and Athletics.
The right-hander did pitch well in his loss to the Angels, allowing two earned runs over 6 1/3 frames. However, he allowed six runs in a game for the first time this year and matched a career high with six walks in a 7-1 setback to the A's on Thursday. Darvish lasted 5 1/3 frames and saw his control escape him in a four-run fourth inning.
Darvish walked two batters and hit a man with one out to load the bases and gave up a sacrifice fly. He then issued another walk to reload the bases before yielding a bases-clearing triple to Coco Crisp.
"I felt very good in the first three innings, and I felt I could maintain that the whole game," Darvish told Texas' website. "But in the fourth inning ... it just went south. Mechanically, that inning, it went very off."
Darvish also walked six batters in a loss at Seattle on May 21 and has issued 30 free passes in 40 2/3 innings over seven road starts, going 2-4. By comparison, he is 5-0 with a 3.38 ERA in five home starts, walking 14 over 32 frames.
The 25-year-old faces a National League opponent for the first time and the Astros will give 21-year-old Jordan Lyles the start this evening.
Lyles is coming off a loss to the White Sox on Saturday, hurling four scoreless innings before getting charged with five runs -- four earned -- while only recording one out in the fifth.
"I just let that inning totally blow up on me," Lyles admitted. "I just didn't make the pitches I needed to make. I put a whole bunch of guys on base that shouldn't have been there."
The right-hander dipped to 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA in six starts this year and is taking aim at his first career road win. In 14 outings away from home, including 12 starts, he is 0-5 with a 5.94 ERA.
Lyles' 2012 season includes a loss to the Rangers on May 20 at home, tagged for six runs over five innings. Five of those runs came in the first as he yielded two-run hits to Nelson Cruz and fellow starter Colby Lewis.
Houston will try to string together back-to-back wins this evening after salvaging the finale of a three-game set against San Francisco with a 6-3 win on Thursday. The Astros got a grand slam from J.D. Martinez and a solo shot by Matt Downs one game after being on the losing end of Matt Cain's perfect game.
Justin Maxwell contributed an RBI single and Jose Altuve added two hits in the victory for the Astros, who had lost three of four prior to yesterday's win.
"When you're down 0-2 in the series, you have to get out of here with a win," Downs said. "Cain obviously had the stuff last night and threw unbelievable. We had to bounce back today and put a couple runs on the board early."
Wandy Rodriguez allowed three runs on six hits and two walks while fanning three in six innings of work to get the win. Brett Myers picked up his 16th save of the season with a clean ninth inning.
The Rangers had a three-game win streak halted on Thursday as they dropped an 11-3 decision to the Diamondbacks. Scott Feldman lost his sixth start in a row as he was beat up for six runs -- four earned -- on eight hits with six strikeouts in five-plus innings.
"I still have confidence in him," said Texas manager Ron Washington about Feldman. "I don't lose confidence in any of my guys. We won the series. So they beat us the last game. We won the series, don't forget that."
David Murphy hit a two-run homer in the loss.
Texas won two of three against Houston from May 18-20 at Minute Maid Park and has won 16 of the past 21 matchups since the start of the 2009 campaign.