On Sunday, the Rangers will look to cap off the first series of a nine-game homestand the right way by winning a rubber match against the Reds. Meanwhile, Cincinnati just hopes to salvage something from what has so far been a nightmarish eight-game road trip before heading home.
In the first seven games of the trip, the Reds have gone 2-5. They dropped two of three against the D-backs before getting swept in two games by the A's and splitting the first two against the Rangers. Cincinnati fell from second to third in the National League Central while on the road, and the club's 4 1/2-game deficit is its largest of the season.
If the Reds want to end their road trip on a positive note, right-handed starter Mat Latos is a good guy to have on the mound. Latos enters the series finale equipped with a 7-1 record and a 3.05 ERA in 16 starts. Although he hasn't been sharp every time out, Latos has kept Cincinnati in games, giving up more than four earned runs just once this season.
The last start for Latos was also the only win for the Reds on their current road trip before they beat the Rangers in extras on Saturday. Latos surrendered one run on six hits and two walks against the D-backs last Sunday, tying a career high with 13 strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings. Although he was happy to fan so many batters, Latos said that's not necessarily the goal.
"When you strike out a lot of people, you throw a lot of pitches," Latos said. "It would have been great to go all nine [innings] and not strike out 13."
Yu Darvish will start opposite Latos on Sunday. Since his last win on May 16, Darvish is 0-2 with a 2.93 ERA and has lost or taken a no-decision in a career-long seven straight games. The day after giving up a career-high three homers to the Yankees, Darvish threw a bullpen session on Thursday, and manager Ron Washington said the 26-year-old right-hander needs to make some adjustments.
Darvish had a discussion with pitching coach Mike Maddux after his bullpen session, but the details of that talk and the potential changes were not disclosed.
"I always make adjustments in each game," Darivsh said. "We talked, but it was nothing special."
Reds: Cueto back to DL, Ondrusek called up
• For the third time this season, the Reds placed ace Johnny Cueto on the 15-day disabled list after he felt tightness in his right lat muscle in the second inning of Friday's loss to the Rangers.
"It's very disheartening," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "I know he was so close to being himself. He's worked hard. I just hope we can come up with a solution."
Cueto's last two trips to the DL were for a similar injury. Like he has each of the previous two times, left-hander Tony Cingrani will fill the spot in the rotation left by Cueto's absence.
The Reds also called up reliever Logan Ondrusek from Triple-A Louisville. Ondrusek made 21 appearances and went 2-0 with a 5.64 ERA the last time he was brought up from April 10-June 8. Ondrusek said he needs to work on his consistency, which has been good during his time with Louisville, as he hasn't allowed a run in eight innings covering six appearances.
"It's been going all right," Ondrusek said. "I'm throwing the ball well and trying to stay as consistent as possible."
• With an RBI single in the top of the third on Saturday, Brandon Phillips snapped a team streak of 0-for-18 with runners in scoring position.
Rangers: Berkman's status for Sunday uncertain
Lance Berkman sat out for a second straight game on Saturday with a sore right knee, which he injured as he slipped getting off the team plane on Thursday.
Washington didn't bother asking Berkman how he felt and wasn't overly confident about him returning to action on Sunday.
"[Berkman] can't be sore and come in here tomorrow ready to play," Washington said. "I haven't talked to the doctors yet. He's not going to have that miraculous recovery. Tomorrow may be a different story."
Washington said, with a day game on Sunday, he might also give catcher A.J. Pierzynski a break in the series finale.
"If he wants to play, I'm going to play A.J. If he doesn't give me any hassle, I'm putting [Geovany] Soto in there," Washington said. "Knowing A.J., he'll probably want to play tomorrow because he wants to see what this heat is we've been talking about."
• In 12 career starts against the American League, Latos is 6-2 with a 4.03 ERA.
• At 47-34, the Rangers are tied with the 1979 club for the fourth-best record at the halfway mark in franchise history.
• The Rangers have won five of their last six against the National League. Saturday marked their first home loss in Interleague Play this season.
• Darvish has never faced the Reds in the regular season, but he did see them in Spring Training this year, when he gave up two homers, including a deep blast by Joey Votto.
Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.