Despite a few hiccups, the Texas Rangers have been playing with plenty of confidence on the road this month, and their record away from home has been a good indicator of that
Texas emerged from Tuesday's contest with a 6-1 victory, anchored by a complete game from starter Nathan Eovaldi. Left-hander Martin Perez (5-1, 4.01 ERA) will be looking to replicate that performance on Wednesday after allowing two runs on seven hits in seven innings of a victory against the Colorado Rockies last Friday.
Perez is 2-1 on the road this season, but he has posted a 5.28 ERA through six starts away from Globe Life Field.
Pittsburgh might try to take a page or two out of the Rangers' book, as Wednesday marks the Pirates' last home game of the month. Pittsburgh will open a six-game trip on Friday, playing three games in Seattle before heading to San Francisco
Right-hander Johan Oviedo (3-3, 4.69) will get the nod for the Pirates after giving up just one run on two hits in six innings of a win against the Arizona Diamondbacks last Friday
Oviedo has allowed just two runs over his last two starts spanning 11 innings, and he attributed a lot of that success to his sinker.
"Really happy," Oviedo said of how he feels about his sinker after his outing against Arizona, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "It was amazing. So glad it worked out the way we wanted. Hopefully we can stick with it."
Only two players in Texas' lineup -- Robbie Grossman and Brad Miller -- have recorded at-bats against Oviedo, who made his major league debut on Aug. 19, 2020.
That unfamiliarity could make it even tougher to hit a Pittsburgh pitching staff that has the second-best ERA in the National League (3.78). Only the Atlanta Braves (3.64 ERA) have fared better.
However, the Pirates also might not have a grip on Perez, who has only faced four Pittsburgh hitters. Veterans Carlos Santana and Andrew McCutchen have seen Perez the most, with Santana sporting a .250 average (7-for-28) against the southpaw and McCutchen hitting .353 (6-for-17) against him
What Perez has on his side is run support, though, as the Rangers have scored the most runs in the majors this season with 307. Texas is averaging a whopping 6.4 runs per contest and has scored at least five in six of its last seven games
Getting shortstop Corey Seager back in the lineup has been a big reason for the recent success, as Seager is hitting .348 (8-for-23) with two home runs and 10 RBIs in six games since returning from the injured list. He had missed 31 games because of a left hamstring strain.
"I feel good," Seager said. "This lineup is really good, and hitting is contagious. Everybody wants to pass the baton and keep moving. That's all we're trying to do."
--Field Level Media