Saturday, August 27, 2011
Scott Feldman to start for Matt Harrison
By Richard Durrett
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers have set their pitching rotation for the rest of the season and it includes skipping Matt Harrison on Tuesday.
Scott Feldman will start in Harrison's place, allowing Harrison to get a break.
"I've got plenty of rest and am feeling good," said Feldman, who won 17 games as a starter in 2009 before struggling in 2010 with knee issues. He became the club's long man after the All-Star break once he had rehabilitated his knee. "I'm just going to go out there and try to do the best I can."
Harrison is slated to start again next Sunday at Fenway Park against Boston.
"You're not happy with having to skip a start, especially near the end of the season," Harrison said. "But they think that's what is best for me. I'll stay active in the bullpen. I understand it. They were honest with me, so I can't complain."
Harrison is 1-2 with a 6.51 ERA in August and has pitched at least six innings just twice in five starts, including allowing seven runs on 11 hits in five innings against the Red Sox on Wednesday. That was a stark difference from the pitcher who went 3-0 with a 2.04 ERA in July and pitched at least six innings in all five starts. All of those outings in July were wins for the Rangers. Harrison has averaged 17.8 pitches per inning in August, nearly three more than his average in July.
Harrison has thrown 153 innings this season, his most in the majors and the most in his professional career since 2005, when he threw 167 innings in the Atlanta Braves' minor league system.
"We just felt like he was the one that needed it the most right now," manager Ron Washington said of the decision to rest Harrison.
Harrison isn't the only Rangers pitcher who will get some rest in the final month of the season. The club has been carefully monitoring their starters, who include three young hurlers throwing more innings than they are accustomed.
Alexi Ogando is also slated to get a break at some point in this final month. The Rangers utilized the All-Star break to get Ogando some additional rest, when he had already eclipsed his innings pitched for all of last year combined in the majors and minors. He's now at 151 1/3 innings and they want to be sure he's rested for the postseason.
Derek Holland has pitched 165 1/3 innings, 15 innings past the most he's thrown in one season, back in 2008 in the minors. But Washington said the team wasn't as worried about Holland, who will likely get an extra day here and there with off days down the stretch.
"He doesn't look tired," Washington said.
Even Colby Lewis, who pitched more than 200 innings in 2010, will benefit from how the rotation is structured. Washington said Lewis will get some extra days in September.
The one pitcher that will stay on his regular schedule the rest of the season is C.J. Wilson. He has logged more innings than any other pitcher on the club at 181 and has pitched well, leading the team with 13 wins and all starters with a 3.08 ERA.
"This is one part of the overall pitching plan and this is the only part I'm going into," Washington said. "We've made plans for the rest of the year, but that can change."
The schedule allows the Rangers to pitch Wilson in the final series of the year against Anaheim if they need him, or to have him ready for the first game of the playoffs.
Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com.