Texas Rangers: Brian Matusz

Wash's Wisdom: Gut call on Brandon Snyder

May, 8, 2012
BALTIMORE -- Each week we take a look at a decision Rangers manager Ron Washington made and analyze why he made it, and discuss it. Here are a few of them, including his call to put Brandon Snyder in the lineup on Monday:

* Washington said he wasn't even thinking about the fact that Snyder would be playing against his old team Monday. Washington just felt that Snyder could hit left-hander Brian Matusz. So with Adrian Beltre not ready to play third base with his strained left hamstring, Washington opted to go with his gut and play Snyder at third and Michael Young at first. The result was Snyder's career-high six-RBI game in the Rangers' 14-3 win.

A few decisions in Cleveland over the weekend worth noting:

* Washington stuck with Colby Lewis on Friday night to pitch to Johnny Damon despite having left-handed reliever Robbie Ross warmed up and ready. Washington made the decision because Lewis had retired Damon on three previous at-bats. But Damon hit a triple off an 0-1 curveball to give the Indians some breathing room in the seventh inning.

Washington took the blame after the game.

"That one's on me," Washington said. "I was one batter too late."

* The next day, Washington decided to pinch hit Beltre in the 11th inning despite the fact that Beltre's hamstring wasn't healthy enough for him to start. The skipper knew Beltre had a good swing in him. Cleveland manager Manny Acta had reliever Joe Smith intentionally walk Mitch Moreland with two outs to have right-handed pitcher go up against Beltre (who was already on deck, so Acta knew that's who Smith would face).

Beltre, hitting for Alberto Gonzalez, blasted a three-run home run and the Rangers won the game, ending a three-game losing streak. Washington clearly picked the right time in the game to use Beltre.

A word about Rangers' approach last night

May, 8, 2012
BALTIMORE -- It's easy to think that after knowing the Baltimore Orioles needed 17 innings to beat the Boston Red Sox on the road and used up their bullpen in the process (don't forget they played extras earlier in the series, too) that the Texas Rangers' approach would be to see as many pitches as possible.

But that was not the thinking heading into Monday night's game. Why? Because the risk on simply going up to the plate and thinking patience is that hittable pitches might just fly right by for strikes.

Manager Ron Washington said before the game that if Brian Matusz didn't throw strikes, the Rangers would see pitches and work him. But if they worked him, it would be because that was the best way to get to him, not because they had a preconceived notion that they had to stay patient.

That approach worked, of course. The Rangers did work Matusz, forcing him to leave the game with 103 pitches after just five innings. They collected 10 hits and seven runs off him, attacking pitches they could hit.

Washington stresses the importance of keeping things simple. If you see a pitch you can hit, go after it. Scott Coolbaugh preaches the same thing. He notes that some hitters are more comfortable hitting in deeper counts (see Mike Napoli) and others don't need to see as many pitches (see Josh Hamilton) to get comfortable.

The bottom line: The Rangers will stick with their game plan no matter the situation. And Matusz's inability to get ahead in the count early allowed the Rangers to work more counts and get his pitch count up.

Matchup: Matt Harrison vs. Brian Matusz

May, 7, 2012
BALTIMORE -- The Texas Rangers open a four-game series against the Baltimore Orioles tonight at 6:05 p.m. on FSSW and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. Here's a look at the matchup:

LHP Matt Harrison (3-2, 5.40 ERA): This will be the lefty's sixth start of the season. He's coming off one of the worst starts of his career, giving up eight earned runs (tying a career high) Wednesday in Toronto. He lasted just 3 1/3 innings and surrendered eight hits with two walks and three strikeouts in the loss. ... Since starting the season 3-0 with a 1.66 ERA in his first three starts, Harrison has lost his last two starts while posting a 15.12 ERA (14 earned runs in 8 1/3 innings). ... His season ERA is now 5.40, the highest on the staff. ... This is his third consecutive start against an AL East opponent (he lost at home to Tampa Bay prior to the Toronto start). ... He's 3-0 with a 4.68 ERA in four career starts vs. Baltimore and has won all three of his career starts at Camden Yards despite a 5.21 ERA. ... Last year, he was 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA with eight strikeouts and one walk against the Orioles.

LHP Brian Matusz (1-3, 4.67 ERA): The 25-year-old left-hander is coming off two consecutive quality starts, including his last outing against the New York Yankees. ... He gave up one run on six hits with four strikeouts and one walk in 6 1/3 innings of work at Yankee Stadium in the win, his first of 2012. ... He allowed two runs -- both unearned -- in six innings of work against Toronto on April 26, but got a no-decision in the Orioles' win. ... He has 14 strikeouts and 13 walks on the season. ... In four career starts vs. Texas, Matusz is 2-1 with a 6.64 ERA (14 strikeouts and seven walks). The Rangers have hit .309 off him during those outings.

Hitters: Current Rangers are hitting .362 in limited at-bats against Matusz. ... Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz are each 4-for-7 and Cruz has a HR and two doubles. ... David Murphy is 5-for-9 with a HR. ... Josh Hamilton (0-for-7), Yorvit Torrealba (0-for-3) and Mike Napoli (0-for-2) are still looking for their first hits off Matusz. ... Adam Jones is 4-for-9 against Harrison. ... Nick Markakis has the most at-bats of any Oriole off Harrison, and he's 3-for-13.

Up next:

Tue at Balt.: RHP Neftali Feliz (1-1, 3.81) vs. RHP Jake Arrieta (2-2, 3.52), 6:05 p.m., 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW
Wed at Balt.: RHP Colby Lewis (3-1, 2.97) vs. LHP Wei-Yin Chen (2-0, 2.76), 6:05 p.m., 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW
Thur at Balt.: LHP Derek Holland (2-2, 4.43) vs. RHP Jason Hammel (4-1, 2.09), 6:05 p.m., 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW

Mound matchup: Feldman vs. Matusz

May, 20, 2010
ARLINGTON -- Rangers RHP Scott Feldman finishes this two-game series tonight as he looks to bounce back after going 7 1/3 innings in a 6-0 loss to Toronto last Saturday. Brian Matusz, a left-hander, pitches for Baltimore. Here's a look at the matchup:

Feldman (1-4, 5.89): In his last start, May 15, he had season-highs in innings (7 1/3) and pitches (119) in taking a loss. Feldman is needed to eat up innings for a bullpen that has been used up the last two nights. He's completed at least seven or more innings in four starts this season, but has gone four or less in three of his last six starts. Feldman's ERA is the eight-highest in the AL. Against the Orioles, Feldman he's 3-0, with a 3.24 ERA, allowed just nine earned runs in 25 innings.

Matusz (2-3, 4.18): He is 2-2 with a 5.00 ERA in five road starts and has picked up three quality road starts this year. In his only start vs. the Rangers, Matusz earned the victory. He allowed four earned runs on six hits with four strikeouts in a seven inning performance. In his last start, Matusz was fantastic where he allowed zero earned runs and seven hits over seven innings. He walked four and struck six in getting a no decision on May 15 vs. Cleveland.

Batters: Elvis Andrus and Vladimir Guerrero are hitting over .300 lifetime vs. the Orioles. Guerrero has hit safely in 19 of the Rangers 23 games at the ballpark this season and is hitting .396 at home. Josh Hamilton is hitting the ball well, he's got 6 HR and 14 RBI in his last 14 home games. The Orioles' Cesar Izturis had a season-high three hits on Wednesday night.



Adrian Beltre
.324 19 77 79
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
WC. Lewis 10
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182