The 2010 AL MVP Josh Hamilton has had a heck of a series against the Oakland A’s. He has battled through tragedy to hit a game-winning walk-off home run in last night’s game and meet the rest of his team at home plate waiting to mob him off. Just two days following the throwing of a foul ball into the stands to Shannon Stone, a Rangers fan who fell to his death trying to catch the ball for his young son Connor. This walk-off homer was the second of his career and his fourth hit of the game.
“It’s been an up-and-down, roller coaster-type weekend, with everything that happened to Mr. Stone and his family. Obviously we’re thinking about him and grieving about the situation. Tonight takes you from one extreme to the other pretty quick. I feel blessed I had the opportunity to do it.”
The Texas Rangers and Josh Hamilton will look to get seven straight wins prior to heading into the All-Star break, which will be a season best for the club and the first time for a seven game winning streak since September last year. With the win last night, the Rangers are still one full game ahead of the LA Angels in the AL West. If the Rangers sweep the A’s, it will be the first time that Oakland has been swept since June 1986.
LHP Matt Harrison will get on the hill for his scheduled start. Harrison is 6-7 with a 3.28 ERA this year. Last time out was a great outing for Harrison allowing just two runs on 11 hits over six innings while striking out five batters but not walking a single one, which was the first time this season that he hasn’t allowed a walk. His prior outing wasn’t the best allowing five runs on seven hits over six innings but the outing before that one on June 24, Harrison only allowed one run in seven innings. All should go well permitted that Harrison stays mentally focused and executes his pitches appropriately.
The A’s will counter with RHP Trevor Cahill. Cahill is 8-6 with a 3.17 ERA this season. Last time out wasn’t a terrible outing for Cahill but he didn’t factor in the decision after allowing two runs on five hits over seven innings. On June 30, he took the loss after allowing five runs on nine hits in just 4.2 innings while walking three. His two previous outings, though, were both wins in which he only granted the other team one run. Cahill will be a bit of a challenge for the Rangers unless he goes back to struggling, but I’m sure it’s nothing they can’t handle.
Pitchers vs. Hitters
LHP Matt Harrison: Coco Crisp is 4-for-7 with one homer and four RBIs and Kurt Suzuki is 4-for-8 with one RBI. Cliff Pennington has secured two hits in seven at-bats off the lefty while the rest of the A’s have only safely hit once or not at all in as many as six at-bats.
RHP Trevor Cahill: Josh Hamilton has been great this series and is 5-for-15 against Cahill. Adrian Beltre is 4-for-17, Michael Young is 6-for-24, Elvis Andrus is 6-for-26 and David Murphy is 8-for-28 with one homer and three RBIs. Murh is tied with Mitch Moreland who is 4-for-12 for the most RBIs against Cahill. In addition, Moreland has two homers, which is the most amongst the club. Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler have struggled against Cahill going for a combined 5-for-33.