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News » Mariners-Rangers Preview 2009-05-14

Mariners-Rangers Preview 2009-05-14

Mariners-Rangers Preview 2009-05-14
The Texas Rangers' Matt Harrison has been a poised young pitcher of late, while the more experienced Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners appears frustrated.

Harrison will try to win a fourth consecutive start and continue his impressive shutout streak Thursday when he opposes the struggling Hernandez, with the Rangers going for a three-game series sweep.

Harrison (3-2, 4.79 ERA) hasn't allowed a run in 19 innings and posted a 1.71 ERA in his last three starts. He went 0-2 with a 9.20 ERA in his previous three outings.

"The thing that I notice with him is confidence," Rangers left fielder David Murphy said.

That certainly was evident Friday night when the 23-year-old left-hander threw a four-hitter in a 6-0 win at Chicago. That came five days after he scattered six hits in five scoreless innings to beat the White Sox 5-1 at home.

Both victories are part of a 9-2 stretch for the AL West-leading Rangers (19-14).

"It feels great," Harrison said after Friday's victory. "I just came out early and tried to follow the last start, not change anything unless they made me make an adjustment and they didn't. So I just kept pounding the fastball. I was in and out and using my changeup like I was the last time."

The second-year pitcher is 0-1 with a 6.97 ERA in two starts against Seattle (16-18).

He'll try to improve on those numbers as Texas looks to remain unbeaten versus the Mariners this season. Hank Blalock's two-run double gave the Rangers a 6-5, 11-inning win Wednesday.

Texas has batted .321 and outscored the Mariners 26-13 in winning all four meetings in 2009.

Seattle is 1-8 in its last nine games and sends a struggling starter to the mound Thursday.

Hernandez (4-2, 4.09) has lost his last two starts with a 9.90 ERA after going 4-0 with a 2.38 ERA in his previous five - all Mariners victories.

The fifth-year pitcher is coming off his shortest outing of the season, lasting four innings and allowing six runs and two homers in Saturday's 9-6 defeat at Minnesota.

That followed a 6-5 loss to the Rangers on May 4, when the 23-year-old right-hander surrendered six runs and 10 hits - two homers - in six innings.

Hernandez hasn't beaten Texas since Sept. 30, 2007, going 0-5 with a 4.75 ERA in his last seven starts. He's pitched well in three games at Rangers Ballpark during that span, though, going 0-2 but posting a 2.79 ERA.

He'll likely have to contend with Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton, who hit a two-run homer in each of the last two games after missing 13 with a pulled ribcage muscle.

Hamilton, though, is 2 for 14 against Hernandez.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: May 14, 2009

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