ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers pitcher Rich Harden could be fighting to keep his spot in the rotation Wednesday as Texas begins a two-game series against the Baltimore Orioles. Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie goes for the visitors. Here's a look at the matchup:
Harden (2-1, 4.93 ERA): When you're working on off-days to simply gain control of your fastball, you know things aren't going well. That's where Harden is at the moment. He's coming of an ugly outing Friday at Toronto, allowing seven runs on four hits and six walks in 2 2/3 innings. His 31 walks lead the American League and his 38.1 innings logged are the fewest by any pitcher in the majors with at least eight starts. He's allowed seven home runs, tied for the team high, and he's given up at least one long ball in five of his eight starts.
Guthrie (2-4, 4.13 ERA): Pitching much better in May, Guthrie has won his last three outings, allowing five runs on nine hits, with 15 strikeouts and just three walks in 20.2 innings. His last outing was his best, going eight innings and giving up just one run on two hits. In two starts against the Rangers last season, Guthrie was 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA. He gave up 12 hits in 12 innings, but allowed just three earned runs. He struck out 10 and walked two.
Batters: Five Rangers are batting .300 or better against Guthrie and one of them isn't Vladimir Guerrero, who is just 1-for-14 (.071) lifetime and against the right-hander. Michael Young is 4-for-12 (.333) with a home run off Guthrie and Ian Kinsler is 4-for-11 (.364). Only the Orioles' Miguel Tejada (3-for-15, .200) and Julio Lugo (3-for-15, .200) have more than four at-bats against Harden, which might or might not work in the struggling right-hander's favor.