Sep 112012
 
HarriUbaldo

Matt Harrison vs. Ubaldo Jimenez: A Rangers/Indians PreviewAfter a series such as the one that took place over the weekend in Tampa Bay, an off-day is always welcome.

In case you were fortunate enough to miss the aforementioned three game series—that saw the Texas Rangers score just five runs over thirty innings against the Tampa Bay Rays—here’s a quick recap:

Derek Holland was great. Yu Darvish was terrific. Roy Oswalt was absolutely horrific, and B.J. Upton is an a-hole.

Tonight the Texas Rangers return home for a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians, while the Tampa Bay Rays take off for Baltimore to battle the Orioles. With the Orioles just one game out of the A.L. East’s top spot, and the Cleveland Indians a mere five games from elimination…well…take that, Tampa!

Here’s a look at tonight’s starting lineups:

Cleveland Indians (59-82, L10: 4-6)

Matt Harrison vs. Ubaldo Jimenez: A Rangers/Indians Preview

Since being moved to the leadoff spot, the Tribe’s Shin-Soo Choo has really taken off at the plate.


RF Shin-Soo Choo
2B Jason Kipnis
C Carlos Santana
1B Russ Canzler
DH Matt LaPorta
SS Brent Lillibridge
3B Jason Donald
LF Thomas Neal
CF Ezequiel Carrera

VS

LHP Matt Harrison (15-9, 3.37 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 5.5 K/9, 2.5 BB/9)

Texas Rangers’ left-hander, Matt Harrison will be pitching tonight on two extra days of rest. The Durham, North Carolina native is coming off of back-to-back losses against Tampa Bay and the Royals that saw him average just five innings in each start.

Prior to his two-game skid, Harrison had been masterful as he picked up consecutive wins against Toronto and Minnesota, averaging eight innings pitched in each start.

Over his four-year career, Harrison has been great when working on six-plus days of rest. All told, he’s 8-3 with a 3.56 ERA.

Harrison has gone 1-2 against the Cleveland Indians since 2008, while posting a 5.17 ERA with ten strikeouts. Cleveland’s leadoff batter, Shin-Soo Choo is 2-for-4 with a double, home run, and 3 RBI off of Harri. Catcher/DH Carlos Santana has also had success against Harrison, as he is 2-for-3 with a double and home run as well. All told, the Indians versus Harrison have produced a slash-line of: .277/.333/.489.

Texas Rangers (83-57, L10: 6-4)

Matt Harrison vs. Ubaldo Jimenez: A Rangers/Indians Preview

Martin gets the start tonight to rest Nelson Cruz.

2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
LF Josh Hamilton
3B Adrian Beltre
RF David Murphy
DH Michael Young
1B Mitch Moreland
C Geovany Soto
CF Leonys Martin

• Nelson Cruz get the night off to rest his presumably aching legs. Hamilton slides to the less labor-intensive side of the outfield and top prospect Leonys Martin gets the rare start in center field.

VS

RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (9-15, 5.58 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 7.5 K/9, 4.7 BB/9)

As mentioned earlier, Rangers’ lefty Matt Harrison has been less effective over his last two starts. Ubaldo Jimenez, on the other hand, hasn’t been nearly as sharp since, well, the second half of 2010.

The 6’5″ native of Nagua, Dominican Republic, has clearly lost some velocity in the last two years. However, Jimenez still possesses swing-and-miss stuff, which is evidenced by his above average strikeout per-nine rate of 7.5.

What has gotten Jimenez into trouble this season is his propensity to surrender the free pass. His walks per-nine rate of 4.7 is his highest since his first full season in the big leagues with Colorado back in 2008.

Against the Rangers over his career he has is 1-1 with a 4.58 ERA, but tends to get shelled mightily at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. At RBIA, he has surrendered seven home runs, and Texas has teed-off to the tune of: .318/.400/.591.

The annoying Angels and those pesky Athletics:

• In a rematch from last week—that saw the Angels sweep the Athletics—the A’s held on for a 3-1 win last night. Oakland is now just a mere three games behind the Rangers in the A.L. West race.

• Even though they lost their series-opener to the Athletics last night, the Angels are still the hottest team in the American League. They’ve won eight of their last ten games, and now are just 3 1/2 games out of the A.L. Wild Card race, and just 6 1/2 games behind the Rangers in the A.L. West.

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Sep 012012
 
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Ryan Dempster Tosses Two Hitter, Robbie Ross to DL as Jurickson Profar Era Commences

Dempster was one cool customer last night, as he held the Tribe to just two hits over his six innings of work.

Fresh off of a 5-3 win at Cleveland’s Progressive Field last night, it’s hard to believe that the Texas Rangers lost two-of-three to these same Indians back in May—while outscored 19-13.

The two-run advantage really isn’t indicative of the dominant effort that the Rangers put forth a night ago, it’s just a sign of how bad Koji Uehara continues to be…even with the rosters expanding to 40 today, you have to wonder why Uehara continues to occupy one of those spots.

That being said here’s a look at some Rangers of note as well as some roster information as the light at the end of the regular season tunnel begins to burn ever brighter…

Ryan Dempster Continues to Cruise

• I wish I could claim to have never felt the pangs of panic concerning Ryan Dempster. But, like most of us, the second time Demples was shellacked for eight runs, I was wiping the sweat from my brow while clenching my fist in anticipation of smashing the proverbial panic button.

However, all anxiety surrounding the right-hander has been subdued by his recent excellence. Over his last three starts, Dempster has gone 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA and has notched 20 strikeouts and only seven walks. In short, Dempster has looked like the ace the Rangers have so desperately sought since Cliff Lee’s departure via free agency.

Trade Deadline Comes to a Close as Rosters Expand

• Even after news came of the Mariners’ King Felix being claimed on waivers, it became apparent that he most likely will be staying put in Seattle.

• However, the Texas Rangers did announce that the much-anticipated debut of Jurickson Profar will occur today. Highly regarded pitching prospect Miguel De Los Santos was designated for assignment and it looks like Tanner Scheppers as well as Brandon Snyder will be returning to the big league club for the September stretch run.

• It is uncertain how much playing time the aforementioned Profar will command in the final weeks of the season, but he will be a true utility infielder expected to backup shortstop Elvis Andrus and possibly Ian Kinsler at second base.

Koji Uehara…yeah, you know

• As I’m sure most of you are well aware, I’m not a Koji Uehara fan. It’s nothing personal, he seems like a nice dude and I admire his enthusiasm. But, the guy is just an awful pitcher. Occasionally people point to his statistics to quiet my rage, but with Koji, you have to consider the situations he’s used in. He rarely pitches in a close game that the Rangers are winning and if you’ve ever wondered why, just look at his outing against Minnesota last week and last night’s thunder-shot home run off the bat of the excruitiatingly-average Casey Kotchman…and there you have it.

Personally, I’d leave Koji off of my roster even if it expanded to a 60-man…I just don’t see why he’s ever allowed to pitch.

Adrian Beltre—not of this Earth

• Beltre, last week’s A.L. Player of the Week, is continuing to sizzle at the dish. Last night he was 4-for-5, raising his batting average five points to .316 on the season. Over his last 10 games, Beltre has hit .475 with six home runs and 14 RBI. It appears that the sure-handed third baseman is getting hot at the best possible time…

A.L. West Continues to Sizzle

• As great as the Rangers have played over the last several weeks, it’s hard to believe that they have been the A.L. West’s third hottest team over their last ten games.

• The second-place Oakland Athletics have won nine-of-ten and are currently riding a seven-game winning streak; the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have started to show signs of life, winning seven-of-ten while feeling the flow of a four-game winning streak.

Robbie Ross Injured

Ryan Dempster Tosses Two Hitter, Robbie Ross to DL as Jurickson Profar Era Commences

Fan favorite and outstanding lefty reliever, Robbie Ross, is headed to the DL with tightness in his left forearm.

• Word came down late last night that left-handed reliever-extraordinnaire Robbie Ross will be placed on the disabled list due to left-forearm stiffness. The diagnosis is particularly disparaging as tightness in the forearm is often a precursor to elbow ligament damage—see Lewis, Colby.

Up Next:

RHP Scott Feldman (6-10, 4.95 ERA) will look to tap into some of his six-game winning streak magic in hopes of staving off his current four-game skid. Scooter will oppose the Indians’ Jeanmar Gomez (4-7, 5.11 ERA). The first pitch is scheduled for 6:05 (CST).

Ryan Dempster Tosses Two Hitter, Robbie Ross to DL as Jurickson Profar Era Commences
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It’s Profar time, and I’m stoked!

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