American League Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, May 25th (All times Eastern)
Toronto Blue Jays (24-21) at Texas Rangers (27-18), 8:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Toronto - Brandon Morrow (5-2, 2.63) Texas - Derek Holland (3-3, 4.27)
(Sports Network) - It appears safe to say that Brandon Morrow has successfully made the transition from reliever to dominating starter.
The right-hander looks to build off his third career shutout this evening when the Toronto Blue Jays begin a three-game series against the hosting Texas Rangers.
Morrow spent most of his time as a reliever with the Mariners after they selected him fifth overall in the 2006 draft, though he did make 15 starts in his three seasons with the club. However, all 65 of his appearances with the Blue Jays have been starts since they acquired him in a trade with the Mariners on Dec. 23, 2009.
The 27-year-old has had a breakout 2012 season so far, going 5-2 with a 2.63 earned run average in nine starts. He has won five of his past six outings, allowing a run or less in each win.
Morrow threw his second shutout in four starts on Saturday versus the Mets, five days after getting tagged for six runs over five frames of a loss to the Rays. Morrow held New York to just three hits and a walk while fanning eight in a 2-0 triumph.
"He's obviously pitching with a lot of confidence," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said on Toronto's official website. "This has been a two-plus year progression for him. From converting him from a reliever to a full-time starter. Getting through 2010 from a physical standpoint. Last year, understanding what makes him most effective. ... You're seeing all the package come together."
The California product has struck out 42 batters in his last 35 innings and has dominated on the road to the tune of a 3-0 mark and 0.63 ERA in four starts. He is 4-4 with a save and 4.01 ERA in 17 career games against the Rangers, five of those starts.
Morrow will try to help the Blue Jays rebound tonight after they lost for the third time in four games with Wednesday's 5-4 defeat to the Rays. Edwin Encarnacion forced extra innings with a two-run homer in the eighth inning, but the Rays plated the winning run no B.J. Upton's double in the 11th.
"We make a rush late to tie things up, and kind of ran out of time," said Farrell.
Jose Bautista also homered in the loss, his 12th of the season but seventh over his last 13 games.
Bautista is 3-for-11 lifetime against Rangers starter Derek Holland without a homer. Holland will be trying this evening to find some consistency for Texas, which has alternated wins and losses in is past nine games.
Holland made his first start in nine days on Saturday, taking the loss versus the Astros after allowing five runs on five hits, three homers and two walks over five frames. He failed to hold a 4-0 edge, falling to 3-3 with a 4.27 ERA in nine games (8 starts).
"When you get a lead like that my job is to go down and shut them out. Obviously I didn't do that," Holland said. "It's just very frustrating for something like that, to come out and work hard. You get out there and barely make it five innings."
It was the left-hander's first start since he pitched in a doubleheader on May 10. Manager Ron Washington did not want to bring him back on three days' rest on May 14, but did use him for an inning of relief.
Holland, 25, is 2-1 with a 5.55 ERA in five career games versus Toronto, all but one of those starts.
The Ranges up-and-down trend continued on Wednesday with a 5-3 loss to the Mariners, who got six shutout innings from former Texas hurler Kevin Millwood.
Scott Feldman was charged with five runs on three hits and five walks in 4 1/3 innings, exiting after allowing a grand slam to Seattle's Alex Liddi.
"He pitched around the three walks in the second inning and got out with minimal damage. He made one bad pitch and it cost him," Washington said of Feldman's outing.
Josh Hamilton had an RBI double and Adrian Beltre clubbed a two-run homer as part of a three-run eighth inning that cut the deficit to two runs.
Toronto has won five of the past seven encounters, including two of three at home from April 30-May 2.
05/25 10:46:32 ET