Series Preview #17B: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Texas Rangers

Jennifer Stewart

Rivals! again.

So, I'm torn here. I don't want to pretend that this is part of the same series as the doubleheader, because there's been a day off and they're playing the last two games about 1,000 miles away from where they played the first two. This ain't the playoffs.

But, I'm also lazy and don't want to think about an entire preview of new things to say about the Rangers. So, you're getting half a preview. Not even an entire half, really, just pitching matchups. Anyone who is upset about this can apply for a full refund.

Pitching Matchups:

Wednesday: Brandon McCarthy (2-3, 4.36) vs. Justin Grimm (4-3, 4.05)

Insightful Commentary: Even though the Padres got a run in McCarthy's last start, he's still allowed all of one run in his past 25 innings. Other numbers from that stretch include: zero home runs, four walks, and, most awesomely of all, just one extra base hit. Needless to say, it's been a lot of fun to watch.

Justin Grimm was supposed to be a spot starter, or an eventual bullpen reinforcement this year. Instead, thanks to injuries, he's started eight games. More importantly, he's played well in those games. His ERA doesn't look special, but remember that the right field line is about three and a half feet behind first base in Arlington. He's struck out more batters than his minor league numbers say he should have, but he has solid stuff, and at 24, he looks like a rotation member for the Rangers going forward.

Thursday: Wade Miley (3-4, 4.53) vs. Derek Holland (4-2, 2.97)

Insightful Commentary: So, it feels like the Padres start moved the discussion about Miley from "He's gonna be okay, right?" to full-on speculation about why he isn't okay. As much as we don't want to think about it, this might be that "regression" that we were promised. Last year he had success because he pounded the strike zone with good but not great stuff. We should have expected him to either give up more hits (as the league figured that out and started barreling him up more) or more walks (if he responded to that by throwing more balls. And sure enough, his BB% has nearly doubled in 2013.

Derek Holland has been supposed to be the next great thing for the Rangers since about 2007 (he was in Single-A at the time). But it's six years later and it was starting to look like he wasn't ever going to be that guy, even if he has been a perfectly solid starter during that time. That was before this year, however. His strikeouts are up, his walks are down, and, probably most importantly, he's allowing a full home run less per nine innings than he did last year. It's enough to make you think that the Rangers might finally have a star pitching prospect who actually lives up to expectations.

If you missed it, check out the first half of this Series Preview, which went up on Monday.

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