Game Preview: A's vs. Rangers - July 30, 2004

The A's tangle with the Texas Rangers for the second straight evening, as Rich Harden goes up against rookie lefty Sam Narron.

Oakland Athletics (57-44), W-6 v. Texas Rangers (56-44), L-3

Date: Friday, July 30, 2004
Time: 5:05 P.S.T.
Place: The Ballpark in Arlington – Arlington, TX

Preview: The A's moved into first place with a thrilling 7-6 victory over Texas last night as many Oakland players filled the role of hero. Mark McLemore and Eric Chavez provided an unusual combination for back-to-back homeruns in the first inning, but start Kirk Saarloos could not hold the lead and bullpen had to come into the game in the third inning. After receiving a full day's rest because of a Mark Mulder complete game, the bullpen combined for 6.2 innings and only allowed four hits and one run. That run came in the ninth inning against Octavio Dotel who was able to strike out David Dellucci to get that elusive save on the road.
The road only gets tougher for the A's as they have three more at Texas, a three game series in New York, and then a four-game set in Minneosota. For the moment, all of those teams are in first place and all at least have 57 wins. Anaheim suffered a 6-5, 13-inning loss to Seattle to drop 3.5 games behind Oakland in the West. Boston was idle and dropped a half game to trail Texas by one game in the Wildcard race.

Pitching Match-up:

Oakland – Rich Harden, RHP (5-5, 3.97 ERA)
Texas – Sam Narron, LHP (NR -- 6-1, 4.01 ERA in AAA)


Sam Narron: Tonight will be Narron's major-league debut as he is replacing the injured Ricardo Rodriguez who is out for the year with a broken elbow. Narron is 23 years old and stands six foot seven inches and is listed at 200 pounds. Narron is from North Carolina originally and went to college at East Carolina University.

Rich Harden: Harden is 2-0 in his last three starts and has only given up four earned runs in those starts, spanning 21.2 innings. His last start was against Texas and he struggled through five innings but managed to allow only two runs and ended up receiving the win in the 9-2 victory. In that game he only allowed two hits but walked five batters and threw 119 pitches in just those five innings. His other start against Texas earlier this year did not go as well as he gave up six runs in four innings on eleven hits. Harden is 1-3 on the road so far this year with a 5.05 ERA in nine starts.

Batter v. Pitcher Matchups:

Harden v.:
Barajas, R. – 1 for 3 – 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K
Blalock, H – 0 for 7 – 2 BB, 3 K
Dellucci, D – 0 for 2
Matthews Jr., G – 1 for 1 – 1 2B, 1 BB
Mench, K – 1 for 4 – 1 RBI
Nix, L – 1 for 4 – 1 2B, 3 K
Perry, H – 2 for 2 – 1 RBI
Soriano, A – 3 for 6 – 2 RBI, 1 K
Teixeira, M – 1 for 6
Young, M – 4 for 9 – 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K
Young, E – 0 for 1 – 1 BB, 1 SB

Narron v.:
Has not pitched in the major leagues yet

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