Jun 142012
 
Harri6.13.12

Matt Cain was Perfect; Matt Harrison was pretty good too as Rangers win 1 0

Matt Harrison—once again—was terrific.

Last night, the Texas Rangers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 1-0 for their third-straight win and their fourth in the last five games.

The Rangers did it—once again—with great starting pitching. We won’t focus on the sputtering offense as that takes away from the eye-popping performances of Matt Harrison and Wade Miley…plus, last night—across the big leagues—it was all about pitching.

June 13th 2012 is going to go down as one great day for pitchers. Former Ranger R.A. Dickey threw a remarkable complete game, one-hitter for his 10th win—and he did it with an 80-plus MPH knuckleball. Amazing.

Matt Cain threw a no-hitter against the Houston Astros. Yeah I know technically it was the 22nd perfect game in Major League Baseball history… I’m down grading it to a no-hitter though. After all it was thrown against the Houston Astros.

I’m kidding.

The Houston Astros’ offense isn’t really that bad. They’re hitting .250 as a team, and that’s good for 18th in baseball. No it’s not great but there are 12 teams more offensively inept—like the Seattle Mariners—and we all know what even the Mariners are capable of when the stars are aligned.

So, in a nutshell…

Kudos to Matt Cain!
Emphatic smooching should be heaped upon his hindquarters.

Yes, even more than has already graced him where the good Lord split him—he deserves it.

But let’s not forget about Matt Harrison.

Awash in a wave terrible “Abel/Able” puns will be lefty Matt Harrison’s 7 1/3 from the very same night as that dude from San Fran’s successful stab at perfection.

On a side note, aren’t you glad we missed Matt Cain’s turn in the rotation last week?

Harrison’s line was far from perfect. He walked more than knuckleballer Dickey (2) and surrendered more hits (6) as well. Heck, he wasn’t even as awesome as the “other guy”—Arizona’s Wade Miley (7 2/3, 3 hits, 8 Ks, 1 ER).

But, against a team that had clobbered him the only other time he’d ever faced them, and on a night where Arizona’s Miley was near unhittable—Harrison kept his team in a position to win.

In a perfect bit of baseball irony the Texas Rangers’ Matt Harrison proved to the world that he’s a winner—even if all he earned was a no-decision.

Up Next:

The series finale between the Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks is scheduled for a 7:05 (CST) first pitch. RH Scott Feldman (0-5, 6.39 ERA) and RH Daniel Hudson (2-1, 6.06 ERA) get the starts on the hill, in the battle of the six-plus ERA.

Make sure to check back here tomorrow for the BaseballDo Game 3 Preview!

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Jun 132012
 
HarriWade

Matt Harrison vs. Wade Miley, Diamondbacks and Rangers, a Game 2 PreviewEverybody loves home cooking, and in last night’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Colby Lewis served up every fans favorite dish: a 9-1 win.

Tonight it will be up to Matt Harrison to keep the good times rolling as the Rangers seek to push their modest win streak to three, while securing their fourth win in five games.

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

Texas Rangers (36-26)

Matt Harrison vs. Wade Miley, Diamondbacks and Rangers, a Game 2 Preview

Kinsler went 3-for-5 with an RBI in last night's 9-1 Rangers win.

2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
LF Josh Hamilton
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Michael Young
1B Mike Napoli
C Yorvit Torrealba
RF Brandon Snyder *
CF Craig Gentry

LH Matt Harrison (8-3, 3.87 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 5.5 K/9)

This is Harrison’s first time to face the D-Backs at home in Arlington. He pitched against them once at Arizona’s Chase Field, and it didn’t go so well—he only lasted 3 2/3 innings and allowed seven runs, all earned while walking four and striking out just two…thus he’s 0-1 with an obnoxious 17.18 ERA versus Arizona.

Hey, it’s a small sample size.

Harrison is 2-2 with a 4.45 ERA at home this year as opposed to 6-1 with a 3.51 ERA on the road. His road ERA is helped out considerably by his masterful performance against the San Francisco Giants last week—Harri pitched a complete game shutout while scattering just five hits with no walks and four strikeouts.

As is the case with most southpaws, Harrison prefers facing left-handed batters. Lefties on the year are batting a paltry .151 off of him whereas righties are hitting .309.

Harrison has won his last four straight games and a win tonight would give him the team lead with 9.

* This is Brandon Snyder’s first start of 2012 in right field for the Rangers. Nelson Cruz is still under the weather and Washington prefers to sit 1B Mitch Moreland against left-handed starters.

Arizona Diamondbacks (30-31)

Matt Harrison vs. Wade Miley, Diamondbacks and Rangers, a Game 2 Preview

Aaron Hill was the only D-Back with multiple hits last night.

SS Willie Bloomquist (.400 BA against Harrison)
2B Aaron Hill
RF Justin Upton (.500 1 HR 2 RBI)
1B Paul Goldschmidt (Texas State)
DH Jason Kubel (.250, 1 RBI)
CF Chris Young
C Miguel Montero
3B Ryan Roberts (L.D. Bell HS)
LF Gerrardo Parra

LH Wade Miley (7-2, 2.53 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 5.5 K/9)

This is Miley’s first time pitching at RBIA and the only current Rangers player he’s ever faced is utility man Alberto Gonzalez, who is 1-for-1 with an RBI against him.

Miley was a first-round draft pick by Arizona in 2008 (43rd overall pick) and has been quite a pleasant surprise for the Diamondbacks this season. He’s pitched like an ace at times, and has filled in nicely for Daniel Hudson who has had been injured most of the year.

Whether on the road or at home, Miley’s splits are quite consistent. He’s 4-1 with a 2.87 ERA at Chase Field and 3-1 with a 2.83 ERA when pitching para llevar.

Much like Harrison’s excellent previous start, Miley had a fine outing against the Rockies last week. He surrendered one run and little else, as he went the distance scattering just three hits while waling none and striking out five.

When Miley is on, he’s exactly the type of pitcher that can give the Rangers fits. He has great command of his off-speed stuff to keep hitters off-balance, and Texas has traditionally had trouble with southpaws in general.

Keys to a Rangers win:

In last night’s win, it took the Rangers a few times through the order to figure out Ian Kennedy. Once they started to lay off of his changeup, they forced him to throw more fastballs in the zone, which they subsequently pounded.

Look for a similar approach tonight from the Rangers against Miley. Miley isn’t exactly a soft-tosser, but if he gets too many heaters in the zone the Rangers should be able to jump all over him—granted they don’t let him get ahead in the count.

Likewise for Matt Harrison, it will be important for him to minimize the damage that Ryan Roberts (.279/.338/.471, 3 HRs) and Paul Goldschmidt (.379/.440/.712, 4 HRs) can impart on left-handers that get behind in the count.

Prediction time:

I think the Rangers bats are close to getting back into a consistent groove. I also feel that Miley might not like the unforgiving alleys—not to mention the infamous jet stream—that RBIA a true hitter’s paradise …Rangers win 6-3.

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