Four days into their week-long sojurn to the Bay Area, the Texas Rangers are starving for runs. A weekend reprieve is no sure thing as the Rangers resume their seven-game California trek with Friday’s opener of a three-game interleague set with the San Francisco Giants. Texas leads the majors in runs but scored just eight times in losing three of four to the Oakland Athletics. Six of those runs came in their lone win of the series – one of only two victories the Rangers have so far this month as they watch their lead atop the AL West shrink.
Next up for the defending American League champions: A date with a Giants club that comes into weekend play ranked fourth in the majors with a 3.33 team ERA. That stalwart pitching has led the Giants to wins in nine of their last 11 games, moving them within striking distance of the Los Angeles Dodgers atop the competitive NL West. San Francisco sends veteran left-hander Barry Zito to the mound in Friday’s series opener. Matt Harrison takes the hill for Texas in a rematch of the 2010 World Series, won by the Giants in five games.
Rangers Giants Betting
When: 10:15 PM ET, Friday, June 8, 2012
Where: AT&T Park, San Francisco, California
TV: 10:15 p.m. ET, KTXA
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rangers LH Matt Harrison (7-3, 4.37 ERA) vs. Giants LH Barry Zito (5-2, 2.98)
Harrison has been one of the lone bright spots for the Rangers over the past two weeks, allowing just six runs over 21 2/3 innings to win his last three starts. He wasn’t his sharpest last time out – surrendering three runs over 6 2/3 innings – but was still good enough to lead his team to victory over the rival Los Angeles Angels. This marks Harrison’s first career meeting against the Giants.
Fans in San Francisco are finally focusing on Zito’s performance over the seven-year, $126-million contract he signed with the club in 2007. The 34-year-old is off to his best start in six seasons with the Giants – and has been especially stingy at home, going 3-0 with a 2.59 ERA in five starts at AT&T Park. Zito has been masterful against the Rangers in his career, going 18-5 with a 3.72 ERA in 31 career outings.
1. Harrison’s presence at the bottom of the batting order will likely against the Rangers. The 26-year-old is a career 0-for-11 with eight strikeouts.
2. The Rangers have lost their last 11 regular-season visits to San Francisco, their last victory coming June 26, 1998.
3. Giants OF Melky Cabrera, who leads the National League with a .366 batting average, is just 1-for-6 lifetime against Harrison.