The Week Ahead: Indians, Blue Jays


ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers are still in first place after rallying to win Sunday in Toronto while Oakland lost to the White Sox in Chicago.

There's no place like home for the Rangers, who will begin an 11-game homestand Monday night with a three-game series against Cleveland. Then comes four games against Toronto and four more against the A's, who start Monday a half-game behind the Rangers in the American League West standings.

The Rangers have the second-best home record in the majors at 18-8. They have played 10 more games on the road than at home this season.

Here's what to watch for as the Indians and Blue Jays come to town:

Dealing with injuries: The Rangers have to grind through this 11-game homestand with a short roster. Chances are they'll play this stretch without Ian Kinsler (fractured rib) and Mitch Moreland (strained right hamstring). The Rangers are for sure without starting pitcher Alexi Ogando (shoulder pain) and reliever Michael Kirkman (skin cancer). And it's still not getting close on Colby Lewis, Joakim Soria and Neftali Feliz, who are all recovering from major injuries.

Brutal on the road: The Indians have an 11-game road losing streak, the club's second poor road stretch in two seasons. Cleveland lost 10 straight road games during a span last July and August. This is Tribe's longest road losing streak since they dropped 12 straight away from home in 1991. Cleveland started the season playing well on the road with a 12-9 record. But the offense has gone cold with the Indians averaging 3.4 runs per game and being outscored 67-35 during their road losing streak.

Indians' starters slumping: Cleveland's losing streak begins with its starting pitching. Indians starters have a 7.85 ERA and a .319 opponents batting average during the skid. The long ball has killed Cleveland with 17 of those 37 runs coming off of home runs. Indians starters are struggling to get past the fifth inning, putting a lot of pressure on the bullpen which has responded with a 3.10 ERA.

Jays again: The Rangers will jump right back in and play the Blue Jays again for four games after losing two out of three in Toronto over the weekend. The Rangers need to turn things around against Toronto. The Rangers have a 14-18 record against the Jays going back to the 2010 season. It's been better at home during that stretch where the Rangers hold a 7-6 advantage over their Canadian rivals. Texas swept a three-game home series from the Jays last season.

Joey Bats: Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista was ejected from Sunday's game in Toronto after a tirade with home plate umpire Gary Darling over a called first strike that was well within the strike zone. Bautista then got himself out by swinging at two pitches out of the zone. Bautista was 4-for-15 in the series -- three of the hits came Sunday -- and he didn't have a home run or an RBI.