After three games in Texas, the Indians get to go home. The Rangers don't figure to make things easy on the Tribe, though, as not many teams have of late.
Cleveland limps into the three-game set, having dropped seven in a row. The series marks the end of a burdensome 23-day stretch that called for 22 games against opponents with winning records. So far, the Indians are 4-15 in that span.
On Monday, left-hander Scott Kazmir is tasked with turning things around for the Tribe, and recent callup Josh Lindblom will pitch for Texas in place of injured starter Alexi Ogando.
After their accelerated ascent to first place a month ago, the Indians have fallen below .500 with similar speed. Though fans have witnessed such dramatic dropoffs from the Tribe in the past, manager Terry Francona insisted that this year's version is completely different from other recent clubs.
"This is not last year, nor will it be," Francona said. "No, I don't worry about that. I think it's my job to take the temperature on all those things and gauge where we're at, and make sure we go in the right direction. That's not one of my concerns. I can honestly tell you that. This is a different team."
With Sunday's 4-1 loss in Detroit, the Indians have lost 11 straight road games for the first time since 1991. Their record away from Progressive Field is 12-20.
The Rangers, on the other hand, are 18-8 in their own yard. Texas returns home following a six-game road trip, which included an 18-inning defeat in Toronto on Saturday. The Rangers averted a sweep on Sunday by beating the Blue Jays, 6-4. However, they've scored three runs or fewer in six of their last eight games and dropped three of four.
"We're just in a spell right now where we are just not supporting, offensively," manager Ron Washington said. "When you go through a season, sometimes it happens, and it's happening to us right now. Once we fight through this drought offensively, I think everything will work out."
Indians: Kazmir coming off solid effort
Kazmir turned in a solid performance against the Yankees in his last trip to the hill, if you don't include the three-run homer that Mark Teixeira jacked in the third inning. In six frames, Kazmir allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks. He also struck out seven.
"There are a couple of pitches that I wish I had back, that's for sure," Kazmir said. "That's all the difference in the game."
In nine starts, Kazmir is 3-3 with a 5.24 ERA. Over his last 18 innings, the left-hander has a 3.50 ERA, with 18 strikeouts and seven walks.
Rangers: Lindblom to make second start
Lindblom's start comes as a result of Ogando's trip to the 15-day disabled list. On Sunday, the Rangers placed Ogando on the DL with right shoulder inflammation and recalled Lindblom from Triple-A Round Rock.
In his only start for Texas this season, Lindblom allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks over 4 2/3 innings. He also struck out four in the May 20 defeat to the A's.
"I thought for the first four [innings], he did a good job," Washington said. "They got him for a home run, but he put up zeros. He pitched around some trouble early, but in that fifth he just started to get the ball up.
"He's got to get the ball down. That's it. He showed a good changeup, good breaking ball and showed some life on the fastball. Just in the fifth inning, I don't know if he was a little tired, but he just started elevating the ball."
At Round Rock, Lindblom was 6-0 with a 2.04 ERA.
• This series marks the first meeting between the two clubs in 2013. Last year, the Rangers took the season series, 5-4.
• Cleveland (30-32) trails Detroit in the American League Central by 5 1/2 games. Sunday's win for the Rangers (37-25) moved them into a tie with Oakland atop the AL West. The A's played the White Sox later in the afternoon.
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.