There's no doubt the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers are on different paths, but those roads converge Tuesday when the teams square off in the opener of a two-game, dog-days-of-summer interleague series at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.
The Dodgers will send right-hander Walker Buehler (6-4, 2.96 ERA) to the mound for the first game of the series and Texas will counter with rookie right-hander Ariel Jurado (2-3, 6.40).
The Rangers head home after a 2-4 road trip to the Bay Area, where they lost two of three games to both Oakland and San Francisco. The latest defeat was Sunday's 3-1 loss to the Giants, but the game featured a Texas lineup with six of the eight position players 25 years old or younger.
Texas is in a decidedly rebuilding mode. The Rangers had an outfield in the finale against the Giants that included Joey Gallo (24), Carlos Tocci (23), and Nomar Mazara (23). Infielders Ronald Guzman (23), Jurickson Profar (25), Isiah Kiner-Falefa (23) and Rougned Odor (23) are also part of a young core for Texas.
"They're all getting to do it together," Rangers manager Jeff Banister told MLB.com. "That's the value of it really. They're getting major league experience, but they're doing it together, inside of the lineup, kind of learning each other as they continue to take these at-bats.
"As we move forward, there is a better sense of what we could possibly get out of these guys next year. Not just the rest of the season, but next year."
Meanwhile, Los Angeles is in a dogfight for the National League West title but was buoyed by a three-game weekend sweep of San Diego that finished with a 7-3 win on Sunday at Dodger Stadium.
Justin Turner had a huge game to help the Dodgers complete the sweep, when he doubled twice and singled to match his career-high-RBI game with five.
"We broke out and J.T. had a huge day," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "He's a pro across the board. Whether it be the defensive positioning, in the batter's box having a plan, the heartbeat in a big spot, he's very focused on each pitch."
Turner is batting .308 and has been the hottest hitter in the league in August. He has reached base safely in 20 of 21 games while hitting .405 in that stretch.
The Dodgers remained 2 1/2 games behind first-place Arizona.
"Coming down this last stretch, the personal numbers, stats, don't mean anything as long as we figure how to win a game," Turner said.
Buehler last pitched Wednesday against St. Louis at Dodger Stadium, where he tossed seven scoreless innings while striking out nine batters and giving up only three hits but not factoring into the decision in a 3-1 loss. In 16 starts, he has gone 6-3 with a 2.51 ERA and is averaging 9.84 strikeouts per nine innings
Buehler has never faced the Rangers.
Jurado will make his first career Interleague appearance and start in the series opener against the Dodgers. He is coming off an encouraging outing in Oakland, in which he pitched into the sixth inning.
Jurado had allowed at least four earned runs in each of his past three outings, going 0-2 and amassing an 8.64 ERA during that stretch. He has never taken the mound versus Los Angeles.