Texas Rangers: Chone Figgins
Holland (5-4, 5.05): The 25-year-old will make his second start since returning from the disabled list, a stint which caused him to miss 28 games from June 5-July 7. ... In his last start, Holland pitched six innings, allowing six hits, three earned runs, one home run, two walks and four strikeouts in the Rangers' 4-3 extra-innings win over the Minnesota Twins. ...Has pitched the fourth-most innings for the Rangers at 73, is tied with Yu Darvish for the most earned runs on the team with 41 and is second in home runs allowed with 12. ... Has been at his best on the road this season, posting a 3.23 ERA and 3-1 record in five starts and 30 2/3 innings pitched. ... Is 6-2 in 12 career games (eight starts) against the Mariners, posting a 4.26 ERA through 57 1/3 innings pitched. ... Is 1-1 in two starts this season against the Mariners with a 10.00 ERA in nine innings pitched. ... He allowed eight earned runs in 1 2/3 innings pitched in his last start against the Mariners, taking the loss in a 21-8 home defeat that raised his season ERA from 4.05 to 5.11.
Millwood (3-6, 3.69): The 37-year-old former Rangers starter (2006-09) will make his 432nd career start and the 17th of the season against Texas. ... Is tied with Felix Hernandez for the most walks on the Mariners' pitching staff with 35. ... Has comparatively struggled at home this season, going 1-2 in seven starts with a 5.29 ERA through 34 innings pitched compared to a 2-4 record and 2.72 ERA on the road. ... Is 1-2 in six career starts against the Rangers with a 3.16 ERA through 37 innings pitched. ... Is 1-0 with a 1.06 ERA in three starts against Texas this season, allowing 11 hits and two earned runs and tossing six walks and 14 strikeouts in 17 innings pitched.
Hitters: Mariners hitters are batting .274 (40-for-146) off of Holland. ... Ichiro Suzuki is .250 (7-for-28) with two doubles, a walk and a strikeout. ... Chone Figgins is .318 (7-for-22) with two doubles and six strikeouts. ... Dustin Ackley is 3-for-13 with a double and five strikeouts. ... Justin Smoak is 5-for-15 with two doubles, a walk and two strikeouts. ... Millwood has allowed a .251 batting average (46-for-183) against Rangers hitters. ... Michael Young is 5-for-18 with a home run, a walk and four strikeouts. ... Mike Napoli is 6-for-18 with four doubles, a home run, a walk and six strikeouts. ... Josh Hamilton is 4-for-10 with a double, a home run, two walks and a strikeout. ... Adrian Beltre is a career .247 (20-for-81) with four doubles, three home runs, three walks and nine strikeouts.
Sat at SEA: RHP Yu Darvish (10-5, 3.59) vs. RHP Felix Hernandez (6-5, 3.13), 8:10 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW.
Sun at SEA: LHP Matt Harrison (11-4, 3.10) vs. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (1-1, 4.84), 3:10 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers take on the Mariners in Game 2 of this three-game set at Rangers Ballpark. It's Scott Feldman taking on Jason Vargas.
Here's a breakdown:
Feldman (0-2, 4.66): Feldman looks for his first victory of the season as he makes his fourth start. Feldman, 29, moved into the rotation when Neftali Feliz was placed on the disabled list May 24. In Feldman's last start, also against the Mariners, he was knocked out after 4 1/3 innings when he gave up a grand slam to Alex Liddi. Feldman gave up a season-high five earned runs on just three hits. But the threw 73 pitches in the outing. Manager Ron Washington said Feldman isn't pitching for his spot on the rotation. Feldman is 3-4 in 10 career starts versus Seattle, with three consecutive losses.
Vargas (5-4, 3.39): He lost his last start, to the Los Angeles Angels, when he gave up three earned runs in seven innings of work. Vargas has lost two of his last three starts. He picked up his last win May 19 at Colorado, when he also went seven innings. In 13 career appearances against Texas, he's 3-5 with a 4.62 ERA. Vargas is making his 12th start of the season and has lost only once at Rangers Ballpark in his career.
Hitters vs. Feldman: Chone Figgins .229, Ichiro Suzuki .290 and Justin Smoak .400.
Hitters vs. Vargas: Elvis Andrus .208, Josh Hamilton .150 and Ian Kinsler .435.
Wed. vs. Sea.: LHP Derek Holland (4-3, 4.05) vs. RHP Blake Beavan (2-4, 4.38), 7:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3/1540/FSSW
Thu.: Off day
Fri. at LAA: RHP Colby Lewis (4-3, 3.58) vs. RHP Jerome Williams (5-2, 3.81), 9:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3/1540/Ch. 21
Sat. at LAA: RHP Yu Darvish (7-2, 3.25) vs. LHP C.J. Wilson (6-4, 2.77), 9:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3/1540/FSSW
Harrison pitched one of his best games of the young season, eight strong innings where he allowed just two runs on seven hits. He struck out five and threw 98 pitches.
Harrison moved to 6-3 on the season as he led the Rangers to a 4-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Monday night.
Harrison has beaten the Mariners twice in the last seven days and picked up eight consecutive wins against the team from the Pacific Northwest.
He's now 8-1 with a 2.69 ERA against the Mariners lifetime.
And Harrison did it by mixing up his pitches, mainly his curveball and changeup, and by spotting his fastball in the strike zone.
"I've been a little sluggish in the first couple of innings and I was just trying to hit (Mike) Napoli's glove and make them put the ball in play," Harrison said. "We were on the same page pretty much the whole game. I shook him off twice. We just kept going and make them put the ball in play and the defense was outstanding behind me and we ended up scoring some runs late."
Harrison noted he needed to pitch better in the first inning. He's allowed nine unearned runs in the opening frame this season and his objective was to get his pitches down in the zone. Harrison tends to overthrow early in the game and that gets him in trouble. He can still attack the strike zone, but must mix up his pitches more and not overthrow.
If he does that, he believes he'll have success.
Monday night, he retired leadoff hitter John Jaso on a bouncer to first, but Chone Figgins doubled down the left-field line. After Ichiro Suzuki reached on a fielders choice, Jesus Montero drove him home with a hard hit single to right for a 1-0 lead.
But Harrison didn't let the first inning bother him. He was able to get out of the inning by retiring Justin Smoak on a groundout to second. Harrison would go on to retire eight consecutive hitters until a Montero single in the fourth.
"There were a lot less pitches than the last game," Harrison said of his pitch counts in the first inning the last two games. "I was just staying with that approach the whole game and it worked out. Unfortunately I gave up that run in the first but I was able to battle back and keep it right there."
Here are the six best of the day:
1. It was another optimistic day for right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb, who completed his second bullpen session in three days. He threw 46 pitches, 18 more than he did on Sunday and came out of it feeling no ill-effects. He'll throw in the pen every other day and then progress to facing a live hitter before the team can think about when he'll pitch in a spring game. But, all in all this is good progress for a guy who won 22 games in 2008 and if healthy could be an integral part of the rotation.
2. Another of the Rangers' young hopeful southpaws got on the mound today with Matt Harrison throwing two pretty innings. He got five ground-ball outs and gave up two hits, a harmless two-out single and a not-so-harmless solo home run to Adam Kennedy. Harrison said he started to rush after and got out of his nice pace from the first inning when Kennedy stayed away from three straight pitches out of the zone. The next pitch Kennedy took out of the park. Overall, however, Harrison showed well.
3. Arthur Rhodes, the Rangers' 41-year-old lefty reliever, made his spring debut, and what a debut it was. He threw nine pitches to three batters, eight were called strikes and that was all she wrote. He struck out two batters and got a fly ball for the third out. As Rangers manager Ron Washington put it: "Three pitches to three batters and he walked off the field, grabbed his jacket and went to the clubhouse."
4. The Rangers had to scratch No. 1 catcher Yorvit Torrealba before Tuesday's game because of back stiffness. He said he woke up stiff, tried to stretch it out and hoped to play, but eventually erred on the side of caution. He is not scheduled to play today and will be re-evaluated before Thursday's split squad games in which Neftali Feliz is scheduled to make his spring debut.
5. Julio Borbon continues to swing a hot bat. One of the few starters to play in this one, Borbon hit lead off and collected a pair of singles. He did get thrown out at second attempting to steal while David Murphy struck out in front of him. Borbon also made a diving grab in center to rob Chone Figgins of a hit in the third inning. It was a bit of a confidence boost for Borbon after he made an error in each of the first two games.
6. Ron Washington can be a sly dog and he's up to one of his tricks for Wednesday's game against the Los Angeles Angles. Mike Napoli certainly is a candidate to play some at catcher, but he's behind Torrealba and Matt Treanor in the pecking order. That won't stop Washington from giving Napoli the start behind the plate against his old club. The Angles drafted Napoli in the 17th round in 2000 and he played five seasons in Anaheim. "Sentimental reasson," Washington said for starting Napoli.
"I’ve never seen so many lefties this close to the big leagues," Harrison after allowing one run and two hits in two innings as the starter in Tuesday's 5-4 loss to the Seattle Mariners.
Harrison is locked in a competition with fellow southpaws Derek Holland and Michael Kirkman to fill out the Texas Rangers' rotation behind lefty C.J. Wilson and righty Colby Lewis, and possibly Tommy Hunter, who is scheduled to start and pitch two innings Wednesday.
"Lefties seem like they're a dime a dozen now in this organization," Harrison said. "I really try not to worry about that. You have to get outs no matter what and pitch your game."
Harrison made a good first impression, mostly keeping his pitches down and staying ahead in the count. He rolled the first inning, allowing just a two-out single to Milton Bradley before getting Jack Cust to ground into a force play. After getting Miguel Olivo on a grounder to start the second, Harrison ran into some self-induced problems.
He started Adam Kennedy with a called strike on a cutter, but then Kennedy didn't bite on three more cutters outside of the zone, and Harrison said it rattled him.
"My pace was good in the first inning, then all of a sudden I got behind that guy," Harrison said. "He kept laying off those outside pitches and I’m like, 'Crap, man,' so I started getting right back on the rubber, catch the ball and throw, catch the ball and throw. Instead of just taking my time and making a good, quality pitch down, I just started rushing a little bit."
Kennedy deposited his fifth pitch, a 91-mph fastball, into the Rangers' bullpen beyond the right-field fence.
Overall, Harrison had good control and kept his pitches down. Five of the six outs he recorded game on ground balls.
"I thought he did a pretty good job. He got one pitch down in the wheelhouse of Adam Kennedy. Other than that he kept the ball down and pounded the strike zone."
Other highlights from Tuesday's game:
*Lefty reliever Arthur Rhodes, 41, apparently didn't want to stick around long. He made his Rangers spring debut in the fourth inning and needed nine pitches, eight being called strikes, to set the Mariners down in order. He got Kennedy looking at three consecutive fastballs, then got ahead of Franklin Gutierrez 0-2 on a fastball and a changeup before getting him to fly out to center on the third pitch. Finally, Rhodes, a Waco La Vega High School product, caught Dustin Ackley looking at two sliders and fastball to end the innning.
"That was as effecient as you will ever see pitched," Washington said. "Three pitches to three batters and he walked off the field, grabbed his jacket and went to the clubhouse."
*Julio Borbon continues to swing a hot bat with two a pair of singles to drive his average up to .714. He also made a stellar diving catch in center in the third inning on a Chone Figgins sinking liner. Borbon committed an error in each of the first two games.
*Brian Barden, a non-roster invitee, joined Borbon and Chris Davis in the two-hit club. Barden smacked a double and had an RBI in his first of likely very few starts at third base.
*The Rangers got a look at former pitching prospect Blake Beavan, who was dealt to the Mariners along with first baseman Justin Smoak in the Cliff Lee deal. The Rangers got to him for three runs on two hits in two innings.
*Taylor Teagarden got his first start at catcher after Yorvit Torrealba was a late scratch with back stiffness. Teagarden went 0-for-2 at the plate.
Wilson (4-3, 3.63 ERA): The 29-year-old has been ice cold lately after opening the year with a great April. Wilson had a 4.62 ERA in May, and has a 5.40 mark so far in June, although that was just his last start. Wilson lasted only five innings into the Rangers' win 9-6 win versus Tampa Bay. The lefty allowed six hits and five runs while he was in, but only three of those runs were earned. Wilson did get the win, he first winning decision since May 7 vs. Kansas City. Wilson has started one game against the Mariners this year, which he did not get a decision despite pitching seven innings of five-hit, one run ball, for a 1.29 ERA.
Snell (0-4, 4.64 ERA): The 28-year-old has struggled all year, but his outing against the Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington earlier this year was hits worst. Snell lasted only three innings, giving up eight hits and five runs, four earned. In his last start the Mariners lost 7-1 to the Angels. In that game, Snell lasted 5.1 innings giving up just three hits, but three earned runs and four walks to no strikeouts. Snell's best start this year came in his first. He went six innings giving up only four hits and one run at Oakland in a 2-1 loss.
Hitters: Jose Lopez (7-13), Chone Figgins (4-14) and Franklin Gutierrez (2-4) have has success against Wilson. Casey Kotchman (0-8) has not. Vlad Guerrero (4-7), Julio Borbon (3-4) and Elvis Andrus (2-3) have been good against Snell. Ian Kinsler (0-6) has struggled.
* Arizona's 2B Kelly Johnson (one year, $2.35M): 10 HRs, 19 RBIs and a .282 batting average. He hit just eight HRs in 303 at-bats last season.
* Toronto SS Alex Gonzalez (one year, $2.75M): He's a defense-first infielder with Toronto who's added 10 HR (he hit eight all of last year) and 27 RBIs.
* Chicago OF Marlon Byrd (three years, $15M): The former Ranger has a .347 BA, 6 HRs, 22 RBIs.
* New York Mets C Rod Barajas (one year, $500K): Another former Ranger, he leads the Mets with nine HRs.
* New York Mets C Henry Blanco (one year,$750K): Backup has thrown out all five baserunners this season in limited action.
* Washington C Pudge Rodriguez (two years, $6M): .365 batting average for the catcher that turned down a one-year offer from the Rangers and got a multiyear deal in Washington.
Here are some who have struggled:
* New York Mets' Jason Bay (four years, $66M): one HR, 12 RBIs, .248 batting average.
* Seattle's Chone Figgins (four years, $36M): He's hitting just .185 for a struggling Mariners lineup.
Arias started the inning with his second base hit of the day, and Teagarden was hit by a pitch as he tried to square around to sacrifice bunt. Elvis Andrus got a beauty of a bunt down on the third-base side and was called out by hair, but he pushed runners to second and third with one out.
Borbon then grounded to second, igniting the throwing error for two runs, one earned.
Rangers 2, Mariners 1, as we move to the top of the sixth.
The last couple of days have seen more activity in the AL West. I'm still amazed by how the deals keep coming in the Rangers' division.
The Angels signed former Detroit closer Fernando Rodney to a two-year deal worth $11 million. He's supposed to set up Brian Fuentes. That certainly strengthens the Angels' bullpen. But the question now is whether the Angels' budget has money left over to do much else. ESPN Insider Keith Law thinks they overpaid for Rodney.
The A's have reached an agreement with Justin Duchscherer. ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick wrote that it's one year at $5.5 million. Duchscherer missed the 2009 season with elbow surgery and had treatment for clinical depression. He gives the A's a veteran presence in that rotation.
The Rangers have made several additions this offseason. And they aren't done. They are continuing to look for a right-handed bat to go in the middle of the lineup and have interest in Jermaine Dye and Vladimir Guerrero. They've also looked at left-handed hitter Jim Thome as a possible DH.
It's made the entire division better. Does it mean the Mariners are the favorites? Have the Rangers done enough to get past the Angels?
It's not an easy question with the wild offseason so far in the division. The Angels, as always, are the team to beat because of their recent success on top of the AL West. But today we learned the Mariners sure are pushing hard too.
So while the Rangers were busy acquiring Rich Harden, trading Kevin Millwood to get Chris Ray and the money to sign Harden and looking at right-handed bats (maybe Mike Lowell if he passes a physical), the Mariners were busy too.
Who do you think is the favorite in the AL West?