05/19/10 11:13 PM ET
Feldman, Matusz square off in series finale
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
The Rangers right-hander is still trying to command his cutter and will get another shot to improve the control Thursday in the series finale against the Orioles at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Brian Matusz will take the mound for Baltimore.
"It's a good pitch against left-handers when I throw it in the right place, but it's not just that pitch, all-around I need to make better pitches," Feldman said. "Actually I think the cut fastball has been fine for me. I need to throw my other ones better to get them off my cut fastball."
Feldman has a point. He is 0-4 with a 7.42 ERA in his past six starts, including Saturday against the Blue Jays in Toronto, when he allowed five runs in 7 1/3 innings in a 6-0 loss. He is 1-1 with a 4.23 ERA in five starts at home.
Here's why he is concerned: Left-handed hitters are batting .310 off him compared to the .226 they hit off him in 2009. The difference is his inconsistent cutter. Moreover, opponents are hitting .269 with runners in scoring position, but .346 with two outs in those situations.
For his career, Feldman is 3-0 with a 3.24 ERA in four relief appearances and three starts against the Orioles.
As for Matusz, he rebounded from his worst start of the season to scatter seven hits -- all singles -- over seven shutout innings while walking four and striking out six in his last start. He received a no-decision in the outing, his longest since lasting 7 1/3 innings on April 13, when he earned a no-decision against Tampa Bay.
"[Matusz is] going to give you what he's got all the time," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "What he does have is a very good knack for coming up with the big pitch when he has to. He doesn't give in. He does not give in, which is commendable."
Matusz has faced the Rangers just once, allowing four earned runs over seven innings for the win last season.
Baltimore: Izturis catching fire
Is Cesar Izturis starting to heat up? It sure seems that way. The shortstop collected a season-high three hits and matched a season high with three RBIs, his second multi-RBI game this season, on Wednesday. He gave Baltimore an early 2-0 advantage with his two-run single with the bases loaded and two outs in the second inning. He tied the game at 3 with his two-out, RBI single in the eighth. ... David Hernandez, who will start Friday's Interleague game at Washington, will leave Texas early Thursday with the Orioles and Rangers playing a night game. ... Closer Mike Gonzalez, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left shoulder, will throw an inning Thursday in Sarasota, Fla.
Rangers: Kinsler coming into form
Ian Kinsler has four RBIs over his last three games and has hit safely in 13 of 18 contests during which he's had an at-bat since his return from the disabled list on April 30. ... Pitcher Matt Harrison, who is on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis in his left arm, is scheduled to throw live batting practice before Thursday's game with the Orioles. If that goes well, Harrison could be sent out on a medical rehabilitation assignment. ... David Murphy will start on Thursday against Matusz, while Julio Borbon will get the night off.
Frank Francisco lost his job as the Texas closer, but has rebounded well. The right-handed reliever earned his team-leading fifth win after tossing a scoreless ninth inning Wednesday. He leads all American League relievers with eight decisions and has made five straight scoreless appearances to lower his season ERA from 7.30 to 5.09.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.