ARLINGTON, Texas — The Boston Red Sox take the American League’s longest active winning streak — five games — into Game 2 of a three-game series against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday. Lefty David Price (3-2, 4.61 ERA) goes against Texas All-Star Yu Darvish (6-6, 3.11), who will be trying to jump start a team that has lost five of its past six games and five straight to Boston, dating to last season.
The game, however, might also see a duel between the teams’ two All-Star-caliber shortstops.
Boston’s Xander Bogaerts and Texas’ Elvis Andrus are among five vying for the final spot on the AL All-Star roster that will be decided by fan balloting. Voting continues until Thursday afternoon.
Bogaerts is also expected back after being scratched the past two games due to groin tightness.
“You’re looking at an everyday player, a premium middle-of-the-diamond player,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “He’s durable, with the exception of these couple of days that he’s missed, but when you look at a .320 hitter year in and year out … I think anytime you can attach the words dependable and reliable with the well-above average production he’s contributing with, he’s an All-Star in our minds.”
Since May 28, Andrus is among the AL leaders in hits, average, RBIs and runs. He also has a six-game hitting streak during which he is batting .370 with two doubles, two homers and five RBIs. He has hit safely in 14 of his past 15 games.
Andrus leads the club with a .301 batting average, 51 runs and 20 doubles. His power numbers are up this year, as his 11 homers are a career high.
The Rangers are promoting his All-Star cause with an #ElectElvis Twitter campaign.
“It will be an honor for sure,” said Andrus, an All-Star in 2010 and ’12. “It’s always a great experience to be next to a lot of superstars. It’s something I’ve been working on a lot for the past two years, and it’s great to see it reflected out there on the field. I’m feeling really good right now.”
Andrus might have a conflict. His firstborn is due soon.
“If I go (to the All-Star Game), it’d be amazing,” Andrus said. “I got my kid coming soon, so that’d be two amazing gifts.”
The last time game for Bogaerts, who is hitting .314, was Boston’s victory over Toronto on Saturday, and he drove in three runs. It was his fourth game with three or more RBIs.
“I don’t want to take a chance with this,” Farrell said of the shortstop’s injury. “But as much as it has improved (Monday), there’s a good chance he’ll be in the lineup (Tuesday).”
The pitching matchup also pits All-Stars, though Price won’t be there this season after missing most of the first two months with elbow problems. His last start was one of his best of the season, as he held the Twins to three runs over seven innings on Thursday.
It was what happened afterward that caused him problems, however.
The Red Sox’s $200 million pitcher reportedly caused a scene on the team’s flight to Toronto on Thursday night, ranting to former Red Sox pitcher and current broadcaster Dennis Eckersley, purportedly over comments the Hall of Famer made about Eduardo Rodriguez’s rehabilitation start.
The incident led to a meeting with team management. About the powwow, Price would only tell reporters, “Some people just don’t understand how hard this game is.”
Price is 3-5 with a 5.52 ERA in 13 career starts against the Rangers.
Darvish will be making his second start since a scare involving tightness in his triceps area. He missed much of two seasons dealing with Tommy John surgery and rehabilitation.
Darvish is 1-4 with a 3.53 ERA in his past seven starts and is 3-3 with a 3.81 ERA in nine starts at home. Over his career against the Red Sox, he is 1-1 with a 3.63 ERA in three starts.
The Rangers right now are more concerned about what happens after Darvish leaves the game. Their beleaguered bullpen took its 18th defeat on Monday.
Darvish, though, is happy to be back at the All-Star Game after pitching in the game in 2012 and 2014.
“Especially when I had Tommy John surgery, I wasn’t sure I’d ever get back on the mound,” Darvish said. “To go through that process and come back and be selected an All-Star, that means a lot to me.”
He is scheduled to pitch the Sunday before the game, so his availability for the AL squad will be questionable. His manager, Jeff Banister, said he is only worried about Darvish’s Tuesday start.