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Big League Stew

Ron Washington says Matt Harrison is still starting Game 7*

Big League Stew

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ST. LOUIS — The most interesting thing about this postponed Game 6 is that it gives us another 24 hours to talk about something that may not even happen.

Should Derek Holland (right) replace Matt Harrison as the Texas' Rangers Game 7 starter, if need be? Will he?

Texas manager Ron Washington pledged a few days ago that he'd be sticking with Harrison for that big start, even if rain came along and provided an extra day.

[Related: Could Cards bring back Chris Carpenter for potential Game 7?]

Well, the expected precipitation has done its damage. But Ron Washington still insists that he isn't bluffing. {YSP:MORE}

"Harrison is a big-game pitcher," Washington said on Wednesday afternoon at Busch Stadium. "I am not changing things I have done all year.''

Washington is nothing if not famously stubborn and it seems like Harrison will be added to a file of curious moves that includes sticking with Josh Hamilton and his hernia in the No. 3 spot and batting his best hitter — Mike Napoli — eighth. He says he knows his players, so something is behind his conviction.

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On the surface, it wouldn't seem like there should be too much of a decision here. Harrison was the starting pitching in Game 3's blowout loss to the St. Louis Cardinals while Holland is coming off one of the best gems of the playoffs, throwing 8 1/3 shutout innings in a Game 4 that tied the series.

But with the Rangers only needing one victory to clinch, Washington likely doesn't want to anoint Holland the Game 7 starter and rule him out when it comes to a Game 6 that's the only one definitely on the schedule right now. Keeping Harrison in place means that Wash can still make Holland available behind Game 6 starter Colby Lewis. Then, for an if-necessary Game 7, C.J. Wilson can then play the part of the top-of-the-rotation lefty coming out of the bullpen. Solid pitching options are not in short supply for Washington right now.

[Y! Sports Shop: Buy Rangers hats, jerseys and more]

Also, our current perception of Holland is only a few days old. Before that sterling effort on Sunday, Holland was as big of a question mark as anyone on that Rangers staff. He certainly threw well in Game 4, but we're not talking about passing up an in-his-prime Nolan Ryan — or, heck, even Chris Carpenter, who could take the hill for the Cards on three days' rest. It's also worth noting that Harrison could have posted a much different line in his start had umpire Ron Kulpa not blown a call at first and Napoli hadn't thrown a ball to the backstop in an attempt to nail a runner at home.

Does Holland have a reasonable chance to impact the series over the remaining games? Of course. But it appears that it will come at Washington's discretion, not the judgment of those of us in the general public.

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