Change at the top shifts direction in Rangers' pitching
Bruce Kluckhohn/Getty Images
By Rick Sutcliffe, ESPNDespite Tuesday's 4-0 loss against the Tigers, the Texas Rangers' pitching is experiencing quite a turnaround.
TOUCH 'EM ALLWho went deep? Keep track of all the home runs hit each day on "Baseball Tonight" and on the Baseball Tonight Clubhouse page. For more, check out the Home Run Tracker page.
|Home Run Tracker|
|R. Howard, Phi||9||Cin||Cueto||Top 2: 2-2, 0 Outs. None on.|
|A. Rodriguez, NYY||5||Bal||Bergesen||Bot 1: 3-2, 2 Outs. 1 on.|
|A. LaRoche, Pit||2||Was||Martis||Top 3: 1-0, 2 Outs. 1 on.|
|A. Dunn, Was||12||Pit||Karstens||Bot 4: 1-1, 0 Outs. None on.|
|J. Bruce, Cin||12||Phi||Hamels||Bot 4: 3-2, 2 Outs. None on.|
ON DECK: WEDNESDAY'S BEST MATCHUPSTwins at White Sox Two of baseball's most promising lefties -- and two not off to the best starts to the year -- meet. Francisco Liriano (2-4, 5.21 ERA), however, has started to turn things around by winning his past two decisions. John Danks (2-3, 4.82 ERA), meanwhile, has lost his past three starts. Blue Jays at Red Sox Brett Cecil has been quite impressive over his first three major league starts. He is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA. Cecil has gone at least six innings in all three starts and has not allowed more than six hits in any of those outings. Brad Penny has given up at least six hits in all but one of his seven starts this year. Cubs at Cardinals Chris Carpenter makes another return from the disabled list. He has been out since April 14 with a strained left oblique. It will be just the seventh start since the beginning of 2008 for the oft-injured Carpenter. For the rest of Wednesday's schedule, click here.
BBTN ON THE AIR: WEDNESDAY
|10 p.m. ET
|Host: Karl Ravech
Analysts: Steve Phillips, John Kruk, Fernando Vina
|12:30 a.m. ET
|Host: Steve Berthiaume
Analysts: Steve Phillips, Fernando Vina
BBTN MINUTE: CARPENTER BACK AGAIN
ESPN researcher Mark Simon digs deep, looking for the night's best baseball numbers.Tonight, he looks at Cliff Lee, who was practically unbeatable last season but can't seem to get a break this year. Lee was denied a win Tuesday when Kerry Wood allowed four runs in the bottom of the ninth of a 6-5 loss against the Royals.
|Cliff Lee (past six starts)|
TUESDAY'S BEST AND WORST
|• Joel Pineiro breezed through the Cubs' lineup in a complete-game, three-hit shutout as the Cardinals won 3-0. Pineiro didn't give the Cubs much of a chance as the game went on, retiring 23 of the final 24 hitters the Cubs sent to the plate. It was Pineiro's first shutout since 2003, when he was with the Mariners. Pineiro's effort narrowly beat out Dontrelle Willis' (6 1/3 innings, one hit in a 4-0 win against Texas) and James Shields' (8 1/3 shutout innings, four hits in a no-decision against Oakland).||WORST|
|• That would be Kerry Wood, who allowed four runs in the bottom of the ninth against the Royals. Wood served up back-to-back homers to Mike Jacobs and Mark Teahen early in the inning, then gave up two more. His line: 2/3 of an inning, three hits, one walk and four runs for his second blown save of the year.|
NUMBERS TO KNOW
Justin Verlander posted a 17-loss season in 2008, one year removed from a top-five Cy Young finish and two years removed from AL Rookie of the Year honors.He also started this season slow out of the gate, losing two of his first four starts and allowing at least five runs three times. However, he's reverted back to previous form over his past four starts, allowing three earned runs in 29 1/3 innings pitched and striking out 44 batters. What has spurred this change? Verlander appears to have regained the command of his fastball.
|Verlander's fastball (past two seasons)|
|Previous 37 starts||Past 4 starts|
FANTASY: PREVIEW OF WEDNESDAY'S GAMES
Tristan H. Cockcroft examines the 16 games on Wednesday's slate.
Cockcroft ranks the pitchers scheduled to take the mound and supplies loads of other information that could help shape your roster for Wednesday. Daily Notes