Yovani Gallardo hope to continue a career's worth of dominance against the Houston Astros on Saturday when the Texas Rangers continue their Lone Star State series with them.
Gallardo has posted a 13-3 lifetime mark against the Astros with a 2.69 ERA. The 13 wins are his most against any major league team.
The 29-year-old righty, though, absorbed the loss in his Rangers' debut on Monday, as the Oakland Athletics reached him four runs and six hits in four innings. However, it may not have mattered how well Gallardo pitched, as the Rangers were nearly no-hit by A's starter Sonny Gray in that one.
"I was just falling behind hitters, and you can't do that," Gallardo said. "You've got to be aggressive and throw strikes. When I did get ahead, I was able to get them to swing at my pitch and get ground balls."
Houston, meanwhile, will hand the ball to righty Roberto Hernandez, who will be playing for his fifth team in the last three seasons.
Hernandez went a combined 8-11 with a 4.10 earned run average over 32 games (29 starts) with Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2014. He was traded from the Phillies to the Dodgers in early August, but was not included on the club's postseason roster.
A 19-game winner with the Cleveland Indians in 2007, Hernandez has struggled against the Rangers, going just 2-9 with a 5.47 ERA in 16 games (13 starts) against them.
Houston evened its record on Friday, as Colby Rasmus and Jed Lowrie homered and Jake Marisnick knocked in a pair of runs to lead the Astros past the Rangers, 5-1.
Collin McHugh (1-0) gave up one run over six innings to earn the win for the Astros, who dropped two of three to the Cleveland Indians to open the year.
Prince Fielder had three hits for the Rangers, who lost starter Derek Holland after one inning with a shoulder injury, while outfielders Shin-Soo Choo (back) and Ryan Rua (ankle) also left with ailments.
Holland (0-1), who missed most of last season recovering from a knee injury, absorbed the loss, giving up a run and two hits in an inning of work.
In what is known as the Lone Star Series, the Astros went 11-8 against the Rangers last year to reclaim the Silver Boot. Houston had won just two of 19 meetings in 2013, the first year the two teams were both in the American League West.