Fresh off a lopsided win over the Orioles, the Rangers will try to make it two in a row over the feathered friends when they meet again tonight at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Game time is 8:05 PM PT with warm weather in the forecast. 

Temperatures of 90 degrees are expected with mostly clear skies and no wind. The betting odds opened with the Rangers as -210 favorites on the moneyline and the total is set at 11

 

Lefthander Matt Harrison (6-7, 3.30) will toe the rubber for the first-place Rangers while the Orioles are wavering on locking in a starter but it’s believed that manager Buck Showalter will go with Mitch Atkins who will be making his first major league start. 

The Orioles have been struggling losing six of seven, albeit against some of the top teams in the league. Baltimore was swept by St. Louis, lost two out of three in Atlanta before getting pounded in last night’s series opener. The Rangers (45-41) have split their last 10 games and that’s cost them sole possession of first in the West. However they’ve won three of their last four games and will look to Harrison to keep the momentum going. 

Harrison has been solid over his past three starts posting a 1-1 record with a 3.03 ERA. He gave up five runs in his last start a 7-0 loss to the Astros but in his two previous outings, Harrison allowed a total of two runs in 13 1/3 innings against the Braves and Mets.  He’s 3-0 in his career against Baltimore including a 13-1 victory on April 9 a game in which he allowed one run and two hits over seven innings. Texas prevailed in two of those three April meetings in Baltimore with Derek Holland picking up the other win. 

The Rangers offensive machine was hitting on all cylinders Monday night cruising to a 13-4 victory. Texas had 18 hits including three apiece for David Murphy and Matt Young. Endy Chavez and Adrian Beltre homered for the Rangers who are now 3-1 against the Birds this season. Colby Lewis threw seven strong innings allowing three runs and five hits to improve his record to 8-7. 

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Mark Reynolds homered twice for the Orioles while J.J. Hardy also went deep but Baltimore couldn’t overcome another poor start from Chris Jakubauskas who lasted just two innings and gave up six runs, seven hits and two homeruns.

The Orioles pitching staff has been a disappointment this season. The starters are ranked 27th with an ERA of 4.52 while the bullpen is 23rd with an earned run average of 4.23. The O’s offense is ranked seventh in home runs (91), 10th in hitting .260 and 15th in runs per game (4.09). Those are solid numbers but they need spectacular numbers to offset their shabby pitching.

There’s certainly no disgrace in getting knocked around by the Rangers along as it doesn’t happen on a nightly basis. Texas has power and speed ranking second in the majors in home runs (104) and stolen bases (84). They’re fourth in hitting (.268) and third in runs per game (4.85) and if they can pick up a veteran starting pitcher before the trade deadline they’ll improve their chances immensely to return to the playoffs. 

The Reynolds Rap 

What to do with Reynolds. Sure he’s got 20 homers and 49 RBI’s but he’s also on pace to strikeout 150 times and his defense has been atrocious at third base. Reynolds has made 19 errors so far this season and astute bettors will tell you when it comes to the Baltimore slugger, defensively he’s the equivalent of a bad bullpen. 

Over and out 

The ‘over’ is 6-2 in the Rangers last eight MLB matchups and 28-14-1 to the ‘over’ at home this season. The Orioles have topped the total in nine of their last 13 and are 21-16-1 for the year on the road. 

Harvey’s Take: The weather is blistering in Arlington hitting triple-digits on a daily basis and the ball is carrying better than normal. Given the Orioles pitching problems and the Rangers recent offensive surge, the ‘over’ looks like the play today.