W2W4: Yu Darvish's first road start


The Texas Rangers head to Minnesota to take on the Twins in a three-game set starting tonight. Here are a few things to watch for:

* Yu-mania heads to the Twins Cities, taking the act on the road for the first time. The Rangers' starters were 5-0 and had six quality starts during the seven-game homestand. The only pitcher without a QS? Darvish. But he enters his Saturday start (12:05 p.m., Fox) with a little momentum. After struggling mightily with his command in the first inning of his major league debut Monday, Darvish was able to settle down and get through his final three-plus innings unscathed. The most important thing is he got the win. Watch to see if the slider has better feel and if he can throw his fastball for strikes earlier against the Twins.

* Ian Kinsler comes in on a hot streak. He leads the team with a .370 batting average and three homers. He got off to a hot start last year, too, and hopes to keep it going on the road. But hitting away from Arlington was something Kinsler never did in 2011. His road average: 214. He still hit the same number of homers (16) on the road as he did at home, but he couldn't hit for average. Will this season be different?

* Nelson Cruz has just four hits in his first 28 at-bats and he's struck out 10 times -- that's second-most in the league. Minnesota may not be the place where Cruz gets going. He was 2-for-15 with seven strikeouts in four games there a year ago.

* Target Field hasn't been a kind place for Texas since the Twins moved in to start the 2010 season. It was was where Josh Hamilton fractured his ribs in early September 2010 and the club is just 1-9 there. The only winning pitcher for Texas? C.J. Wilson, who is now with the Angels.

* Joe Nathan. The former Twins closer returns home and looks to find consistency. Both of the Rangers' losses have come with Nathan on the mound. He got a rest Thursday and should be ready to go if the club winds up in a save situation tonight.

* Mother Nature. The forecast isn't pretty for the weekend, as the teams may be trying to dodge wet weather. Click here for a forecast from weather.com