The Rangers will be trying to reverse their fortunes when they host the Blue Jays in a three-game series that starts Friday night at Globe Life Park.
The Rangers have lost seven of their last nine games at home after starting out winning nine of their first 12. Between 2009-13, the Rangers were 247-159 at home for a .608 winning percentage that ranked third among American League teams.
"It's important because we've always played well at home," manager Ron Washington said. "It's important that we play well all the time, but at home, definitely."
The Rangers have not hit like they have in the past at home. They are hitting .258 at home, ninth best in the AL. Their .380 slugging percentage is 12th.
From 2009-12, the Rangers ranked first in the AL with a .286 batting average and a .477 slugging percentage at home. Last year those numbers dropped to a .268 batting average that was fourth in the league and .412 slugging percentage that was sixth best.
Despite the team's struggles, center fielder Leonys Martin is off to a great start in Arlington, hitting .362 with a .413 on-base percentage and a .507 slugging percentage in 21 games. Prince Fielder, on the other hand, has struggled at a ballpark that was supposed to give him a boost. Fielder goes into the Blue Jays series hitting .194 with three home runs, seven RBIs and a .361 slugging percentage at Globe Life Park.
Yu Darvish will be on the mound for the Rangers on Friday. The ace won his last start, throwing 8 2/3 innings in an 8-0 victory over the Red Sox in Arlington. It was his first victory at home since a 7-1 win over the D-backs on Aug. 1 last season. Darvish is 1-4 with a 2.45 ERA in his last 10 starts.
Darvish has made 37 starts in Arlington since signing with the Rangers and is 18-9 with a 2.45 ERA and 302 strikeouts in 243 2/3 innings. He has made five starts against the Blue Jays, going 2-1 with a 2.73 ERA. His last start against Toronto was at home on June 13, 2013, when he allowed one run in seven innings and took a no-decision in a 3-1 loss.
Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion is 5-for-12 with two home runs off Darvish. Jose Bautista is 1-for-12 and hasn't done well in Arlington in his career. He has played 20 games there and is hitting just .186 with one home run, 10 RBIs and a .300 slugging percentage. Encarnacion is hitting .200 in 15 games in Arlington with one home run, seven RBIs and a .333 slugging percentage.
Right-hander Drew Hutchison makes his ninth start for the Blue Jays as he continues his comeback from Tommy John surgery. Hutchison is winless in his last seven starts after beating the Rays, 4-2, in his first outing of the season. He is 0-2 with a 5.59 ERA in his last three starts. Hutchison struggled in his last start, managing only 4 1/3 innings, allowing three earned runs while tying a season-high four walks.
He has made just one start against the Rangers, and that was as a rookie in 2012. In his third Major League start, he allowed six runs (five earned) in six innings for a no-decision in an 8-7 victory at Rogers Centre.
The Blue Jays are 11-10 on the road this season, winning their last three. The Blue Jays haven't finished a season with a winning road record since going 45-36 in 2003. They were 66-96 on the road the past two seasons, tied with the White Sox for the second-worst road mark in the AL. But they did manage a four-game sweep in Arlington last summer.
Rangers: Arencibia to catch Darvish
Catcher J.P. Arencibia will be behind the plate when Darvish pitches in the opener. Washington likes the way the two have been working together and is planning to pair Arencibia with Darvish for the time being.
"It's just chemistry," Washington said. "They seem to be on the same page and communicating well."
Darvish has certainly found a reason to have Arencibia behind the plate when he pitches.
"He listens to me," Darvish said.
Blue Jays: Navarro on bereavement list
The Blue Jays recalled Erik Kratz from Triple-A Buffalo on Wednesday after Dioner Navarro was placed on the bereavement/family medical emergency list.
Navarro will be gone for a "few days," during which Kratz and Josh Thole will share catching duties, manager John Gibbons said.
Navarro, who's batting .276 with one home run and 16 RBIs, is permitted to be away from the club for three to seven days.
"We'll see who's pitching," said Gibbons of which catcher will play which days. "Thole has been pretty good at the plate, and Kratz has been pretty good, too."
Kratz, a right-handed hitter, is batting .226 with two homers and six RBIs in 12 games for Toronto this season.
Thole, who hits from the left side, is .375 (15-for-40) in 17 games this season. He catches whenever knuckleballer R.A. Dickey starts and typically logs extra time behind the plate when Navarro needs a day off.
• Elvis Andrus, with a third-inning single on Wednesday, has an 11-game hitting streak for the second time this season. They are the longest streaks by a Rangers player this season.
• Neil Wagner is back in the Blue Jays' bullpen after the club optioned Chad Jenkins to Buffalo on Wednesday.
Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.