07/07/10 6:17 PM ET
Hunter, Guthrie aim to keep feet on pedal
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
Every series matters, even the last one.
Right, Tommy Hunter?
In Hunter's last start, the Rangers starter pitched seven-plus innings while allowing only one run in a 3-1 win on Saturday over the White Sox, despite allowing nine singles. He's won a club record five consecutive games at home to start the season and is 11-4 with a 3.51 ERA in 17 career starts in Arlington.
"He's pounding the strike zone, not making mistakes in the middle of the plate and executing his pitches," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "When you do that, you get the results he's getting. Right now he's executing very well. He's throwing strikes, keeping the ball in play. He's doing everything we'd like to see a pitcher do."
The Rangers lead the AL West. The Orioles are in the cellar in the AL East. It will be up to Baltimore's Jeremy Guthrie to help change those facts -- or at least make a difference.
To the Orioles, like the Rangers, every game also matters.
In his last start, Guthrie turned in his worst outing of the season against Boston on Saturday, allowing six earned runs over four innings. He has taken the loss in six of his past seven starts, pitching to a 6.17 ERA over that span.
"[I] just didn't pitch well," Guthrie said.
Baltimore: Tillman likely to start on Saturday
It appears that Triple-A Norfolk's Chris Tillman will start on Saturday in Texas, with rookie third baseman Josh Bell the logical choice to be optioned back to Norfolk. ... Interim O's manager Juan Samuel would like closer Alfredo Simon to be more aggressive on the mound. "At times he throws the split finger pitch too much and hitters start sitting on it," he said. "He throws hard enough where he can challenge guys with his fastball and throw the split finger later." ... Miguel Tejada has driven in 10 runs in his last 13 games. ... Nick Markakis leads all left-handed hitters in batting average against left-handed pitching with a .380 mark. ... Ty Wigginton has one home run in his last 37 games but still leads the club in that category with 14. ... The O's are 13-12 in one-run games this year.
Texas: Falling fan shakes up Cruz
Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz had trouble shaking the image of the fan that fell from the upper deck during Tuesday night's game against the Indians. "Even if it wasn't my fault, I hoped nothing bad had happened, because I'm the one who hit the foul ball," Cruz said. "It was in the back of my mind. I just thank God everything is good." Tyler Morris, a firefighter from Crawford, Texas, suffered both a fractured skull and a fractured ankle as the result of the 30-foot fall from the club level. He remains in the hospital and in "good spirits." ... Washington says he still hasn't decided who will be his fifth starting pitcher, but said it will "probably" be Matt Harrison.
The Rangers won both meetings against the O's this season in Arlington. Moreover, Texas has gone .500 or better against the O's in five consecutive seasons starting in 2005, winning four of the last five season series. ... The O's lead the all-time series 227-179-1 and hold a 113-90 edge in Arlington. ... Josh Hamilton is riding a 27-game home hit streak, second-longest in team history and longest ever by a Texas batter at Rangers Ballpark. The longest home hitting streak is 30, by Al Oliver in 1981. ... The Rangers' 30-15 record at home matches the second-best start after 45 games in Arlington. ... The Dallas Cowboys are sending e-mail messages to their fans and using their social media outlets to urge everybody to vote for Michael Young in the 2010 All-Star Game Final Vote.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.