Do you feel frustrated about baseball after last night's game?
Well good, because Steven Wright and his knuckle ball plan on keeping it that way for another night.
Seriously, the guy can pitch and his knuckler is a different creature which has confounded all varieties of hitters all season. Wright leads the American League with a 2.01 ERA and that stat can't even begin to explain how dominant he has been recently or how frustrating he is for opposing hitters.
While RA Dickey changed the thought process of the standard floating knuckle ball by adding velocity, Steven Wright has added an additional cut to his that helps add a late drop to the ball as needed. Basically, he has made an adjustment to his pitches in order to make an unpredictable pitch predictable, but only to him. Wright has allowed only 5 runs over his last five outings and has allowed only 71 hits to the 398 batters he has faced this season.
This is your probably All Star game starter at this point, so don't let your frustrated feelings go too far.
To counter, the Rangers welcome back AJ Griffin from a six week long DL hiatus to face one of the AL's top offenses.
The lineup for this evening is as follows:
1- Choo RF
2- Desmond CF
3- Mazara LF
4- Beltre 3B
5- Fielder DH
6- Odor 2B
7- Andrus SS
8- Moreland 1B
9- Chirinos C
Mazara and Moreland return to the starting lineup tonight, despite left handed hitters batting only .172 against Wright. Righties only fair a .219 BA against him, but that may have been enough to consider getting Rua and Profar's bat back into the lineup for the second straight night. Once again, Prince Fielder fills the 5-hole as the DH, providing him with ample opportunities to ground into bases loaded double plays or be unable to catch up with 87mph fastballs while Profar looks on from the bench.
Big question this evening will be how the bullpen bounces back after last night's rough outing. AJ Griffin will be on a lower pitch count that usual being that it is his first start back, so the bullpen may play a vital role in the evening. I would expect Tony Barnette to be unavailable following yesterday's two inning outing.
Cross your fingers, Rangers fans. Tonight provides a variety of challenges, but if we know anything about this team, it's that they would much rather punch that challenge in the jaw than to ever back down or quit.
Grab a coffee or an energy drink, it's going to be a late one.