Saturday, June 25, 2011

Preview: 2011 Regular Season Game 77 - Mets at Rangers


New York Mets (37-39) at Texas Rangers (41-36), 4:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: NY Mets - Jonathon Niese (6-6, 3.70) Texas - Alexi Ogando (7-2, 2.66)

Alexi Ogando has finally hit a wall for the Rangers, and the young hurler will try to break through it when Texas takes on the New York Mets in the second installment of a three-game series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Ogando has been one of the biggest surprises in the American League this season, as the 27-year-old opened the campaign with a 7-0 ledger and a 2.10 ERA.

However, the good times would not last, as the hard-throwing right-hander has now dropped his last two starts. After allowing six runs in less than two innings against the Yankees, Ogando put forth a strong effort in his last outing against Atlanta, but despite his gritty effort, he still took the loss.

In five innings against the Braves, Ogando allowed three runs -- one earned -- on five hits.

Both of those setbacks came on the road, but now the first-year starter is back at home where he has been outstanding. In seven games in Arlington the right-hander is 5-0 with a stunning 1.91 earned run average.

The Mets will hand the ball to Jonathon Niese, who has been inconsistent on the season. In 15 starts this season the crafty lefty is only 6-6 with a 3.70 ERA.



The last time Niese was in action he had trouble against the Angels, and lasted only four innings. In that short time span the southpaw surrendered five runs -- four earned -- on eight hits.

Niese's erratic ways have followed him on the road this season, as the 24- year-old is just 3-3 with a 4.22 earned run average in seven starts outside of Citi Field.

Matt Harrison threw seven strong innings Friday, and Adrian Beltre and the Rangers offense did the rest in an 8-1 victory over the Mets.

Harrison (6-6) snapped a two-decision losing streak, giving up one run on seven hits and a walk while striking out four.

Beltre hit a two-run homer to cap a three-run first inning and added a pair of doubles for the Rangers, who have won five of their last seven games. Michael Young and Josh Hamilton also hit two-run homers in the victory.

"I think that right now we are a better team than we were a few weeks ago," said Young. "We're a better team then we were a month ago and if we can keep that up we'll be in the hunt."

Ruben Tejada hit an RBI single in the fifth inning for New York, which started a six-game road trip against the AL with its fifth loss in eight games.

"They swung the bat well today and their pitcher was throwing good," said Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran. "They had everything going on their side today and we will regroup and be ready for tomorrow."

New York has won four of the seven all-time meetings in this series. This, though, is the team's first trip to Arlington since 2003.
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