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Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Matt Harrison is MLB's best in this category

By Randy Jennings

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Matt Harrison isn’t sure how to explain his commanding major league lead in an often-overlooked pitching category, number of induced ground ball double plays.

With two in Monday’s 9-2 win over Seattle, the Rangers’ left-hander has produced 28 this season.

Teammate C.J. Wilson is tied for second place with 22.

“Yeah, I saw that and 28 is kind of unreal,’’ Harrison said. “The big thing when you have a guy at first base is to throw a pitch down in the zone.’’

With 46 games remaining, Harrison is tied for the fourth most in a single season in Rangers history and is just two shy of matching the team record of 30 shared by Rick Honeycutt in 1983 and Kevin Brown in 1991.

Rounding out the double-play balls thrown by Rangers starters this season, Derek Holland has 13, Alexi Ogando has 10 and Colby Lewis has nine.

All the Rangers pitchers are aided by the quick feet and strong arms of middle infielders Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler.

On a hot Texas evening, the double-play ball can definitely be the pitcher’s best friend.

“When you pitch in the heat, the thing you want to avoid are those long innings because when you have one, it really grabs you,’’ Harrison said.