Tuesday, July 3, 2012
W2W4: Rangers at Chicago White Sox
By Richard Durrett
The Rangers begin a three-game series in Chicago against the White Sox tonight. It's their last road series before the All-Star break. A few things to watch:
* Matt Harrison. He was named to the All-Star team on Sunday and earned AL pitcher of the month honors for June. He starts Thursday in Chicago as he tries to stay on a roll. Can he get himself into the conversation to actually start the All-Star Game if he has another tremendous start?
* Josh Hamilton. The AL player of the month in April and May slowed down in June, hitting just .223. But he seems to be seeing the ball better recently and has five hits in his last four games, including a homer and six RBIs. Will July be a better month?
* Adrian Beltre. No one on the Rangers hit better than Beltre in June -- a blistering .343. He's hit .341 against the White Sox the past three seasons, including a .361 mark at U.S. Cellular Field.
* Joe Nathan. He's an All-Star once again and has been extremely reliable in the closer's role. The starting pitching -- not to mention the relief pairing of Michael Kirkman and Mark Lowe -- saved the bullpen some last week and Nathan should be rested and ready for this last stretch before the All-Star break.
* Paul Konerko. He remains a big threat in the White Sox lineup, hitting .335 with 14 homers and 40 RBIs. Konerko was 5-for-12 with three RBIs in the first series between these teams in Arlington to start the season.
* A.J. Pierznyski wasn't happy about being left off the All-Star team. He gets a chance to show the manager of the AL team what he's going to be missing in this series. Pierzynski was just 1-for-8 in that opening series.
* The Rangers face an All-Star tonight in Chris Sale, who is 9-2 with a 2.27 ERA.