Texas Rangers (37-34) at Atlanta Braves (39-32) Preview Game 2 (3:10 pm CT)


Last night was a great game for the Texas Rangers. Colby Lewis pitched exceptionally well and the offense backed him up – and Neftali Feliz even pitched well when he came out in the ninth inning. And that glove pass from Lewis to Michael Young at first base to get an out was so freaking awesome! Michael Young was able to extend his hitting streak last night from 18 to 19 games. Josh Hamilton had a two-run home run and Nelson Cruz was even able to get out of his slump a bit.

With that win last night, the Rangers were able to snap their longest losing streak of the season but having lost their previous five games and Seattle winning their previous two, they are not just half a game ahead of the Mariners in the AL West standings.

They had never lost that many games in a row (five) before (this year) so let’s hope that it doesn’t happen again! In addition, last week when the Rangers played Minnesota, they were able to remove Target Field from the list of parks in which they had never recorded a victory and they can now remove Turner Field from that list as well.

This afternoon will be the second of three interleague games between the Rangers and the Braves. The Rangers have the most scored runs and the second-most home runs hit in interleague play. While Michael Young will look to get a 20-game hitting streak, Hamilton will look to create a 25-game hitting streak in regular season interleague play.

Pitching Matchups

The Rangers LHP Matt Harrison finally passed his kidney stone, is recovering well from being hit by a line drive last time out and is set to make his scheduled start this afternoon. The 25-year-old is 5-6 this year with a 3.31 ERA. He has recorded 42 strikeouts along with 32 walks over 70.2 innings in 12 starts. He is coming off two straight losses and one bad outing. In Detroit ON June 7, he lasted four innings allowing four runs on eight hits and then on June 12 in Minnesota, he made it six innings while permitting two runs on five hits. His previous two games, though, he lasted 6.1 and eight scoreless innings allowing five hits in both games.

On the road, he has allowed 12 runs on 28 hits over 38 innings. Harrison will be facing the Atlanta Braves, the team that drafted him in the third round of the 2007 MLB Draft, for the first time ever. In seven career appearances of interleague play, including three starts, Harrison is 1-1 with an earned run average of 4.21 allowing 12 earned runs over 25.2 innings and one save.

The Braves will counter with RHP Derek Lowe. The 38-year-old is 3-5 this year with an earned run average of 4.02. He has recorded 66 strikeouts and 33 walks in 85 innings pitched over 15 starts. He heads into this afternoon’s game coming off his first loss since May 22 (since then, he’s only received no decisions) after allowing five runs on eight hits in 5.1 innings. In his previous five games, he has permitted three or more runs in four of them. His last win came against the Phillies back on May 6 – over a month ago – when he pitched six scoreless innings.

Lowe has not pitched against the Rangers since back in 2005 when he was with Boston. Against Texas, Lowe is 3-3 with a 2.92 ERA in 24 games, five of which were starts, in which he allowed 25 runs on 46 hits over 52.1 innings.

Pitchers vs. Hitters

LHP Matt Harrison: Harrison has never faced the Braves.

RHP Derek Lowe: Yorvit Torrealba is 3-for-12 with two doubles, two RBIs, one walk and one strikeout against the right-handed pitcher. Adrian Beltre has one hit in nine at-bats , Andres Blanco has one hit in three at –bats and both Endy Chavez and Michael Young have been unable to get a hit off Lowe in their time at the plate against him.