The Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies play the final contest of a low-scoring three-game series Sunday at Citizens Bank Park
Texas Rangers at Philadelphia Phillies
Texas lost to Philadelphia 2-0 last night, dropping to 2-4 on its seven-game, seven-day road trip. The Rangers are now eight games below .500 since outfielder Josh Hamilton injured his shoulder on April 11 and continue to struggle offensively. “We’d like to put some runs on the board,” said Rangers manager Ron Washington. “We faced two of the best the game has to offer.” The good news is, the pitching staff has been up to the challenge recently, as Saturday’s contest marked the 10th consecutive game that the unit has allowed four runs or less. Texas hasn’t been swept in a series since losing all three from September 3-5, 2010 at Minnesota. The club is 8-9 in day games this season.
Rangers starting pitcher Matt Harrison is 3-4 with a 4.27 ERA and is scheduled to make his ninth start this afternoon. The left-hander is winless in his last five outings, after tallying victories in each of his first three. Harrison has registered an 0-1 mark and 6.23 ERA in six career games against the National League. He has been quite effective on the road in four appearances, going 2-1 with a 3.42 ERA, as opponents are hitting just .225 against him. Sunday will be his first career outing versus Philadelphia.
Philadelphia has proven victorious in the first two games of this series, but the offense has been struggling to find its way by not scoring four runs or more in a game since May 13. Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard’s recent problems at the plate has been a main contributor to the lack of success, but he managed to snap an 0-for-23 slump last night. “I felt better,” Howard commented. “I had a couple of hits and just missed the last ball.” The club has an all-time interleague record of 108-129, including a 55-66 mark at home. With last night’s win, the Phillies improved to 5-0 in their five all-time games against the Rangers at Citizens Bank Park.
Phillies starting pitcher Roy Oswalt is 3-1 with a 3.09 ERA in six starts this season, but hasn’t picked up a victory since April 21. The right-hander tossed five strong innings last time out at St. Louis, giving up just a single run and scattering seven hits over five innings, but received just a run of support. Oswalt has tallied a 1-0 record and 3.00 ERA in two home outings, managing to issue just two walks and register 12 strikeouts in 12 frames. In 12 career starts versus the Rangers, he stands at 4-6 with a 4.54 ERA.
Bettors will likely back the Rangers due to their 5-0 record after dropping the first two games of a series, while the Phillies are 1-6 in their last seven interleague home games versus a left-handed starter