The Texas Rangers had one of their biggest offensive efforts of the season in their opener against the Oakland Athletics, but hits could be harder to come by when they face Justin Duchscherer on Saturday.
Duchscherer looks to help the Athletics bounce back after a bullpen implosion the previous night, as Texas and Oakland continue their three-game series.
Texas (53-50) fell just shy of its season high in runs scored in the Rangers’ 14-6 win over Oakland (52-50) on Friday. It was their second highest scoring game of the season—two runs shy of matching their total in a win against Houston on May 16.
“It’s nice to get it under your belt, especially the first one,” Hamilton said with a grin. “We just try to hit the ball hard all the time and we feed off each other.”
“It was an ugly finish,” A’s manager Bob Geren said.
Hamilton and the Texas offense may not have as easy a time against Duchscherer (10-6, 1.87 ERA) on Saturday. The right-hander is the league’s ERA leader and he comes in having pitched at least seven innings in his last eight starts.
Duchscherer pitched seven innings on Sunday against the Yankees, allowing two runs and six hits in a 2-1 loss. He had been battling a throat infection for about a week.
“It was a very gusty, hard-fought performance by him,” manager Bob Geren told the Athletics’ official Web site. “If he got a couple of runs, we probably would have won the game.”
Duchscherer is 3-2 with a 3.79 ERA in 22 relief appearances and two starts against the Rangers. In one of those starts—on May 30—Duchscherer allowed two runs and six hits in six innings, but the Athletics lost 3-1.
Oakland has lost eight times in its last nine games. The A’s led 5-0 after three innings on Friday, but starter Sean Gallagher gave all five runs back in the top of the fourth.
The Oakland bullpen had not allowed a run in its previous four games, spanning 10 innings of work.
Texas moved a half-game ahead of Oakland into second place in the AL West, but the Rangers still have a significant deficit to make up to catch the division-leading Angels, who lead by 10 1/2 games.
Matt Harrison (1-1, 9.20) takes the mound for Texas on Saturday looking to bounce back after two rough starts. The 22-year-old rookie left-hander made his major league debut on July 8 against the Angels, allowing two runs and five hits in seven innings, but he’s given up 13 runs in 7 2-3 innings over his last two starts.
Last Saturday at Minnesota, Harrison allowed eight runs, two home runs and three walks in five innings of a 14-2 loss.
This will be Harrison’s first start against the Athletics.