John Rheinecker pitches in Boston today and he didn't do badly in his first trip to Fenway Park, holding the Red Sox to three runs on nine hits over 5 2/3 innings in a game the Rangers eventually won, 7-4.
Other left-handers have fared worse in a ballpark that is supposed to be tough on southpaws. Legend has it that Yankees manager Casey Stengel used to change his rotation so that Hall of Fame left-hander Whitey Ford wouldn't pitch in Fenway.
"When I was with the Yankees [as pitching coach] in the '80s I used to think that left-handers had trouble in Boston," Rangers pitching coach Mark Connor said. "But Bruce Hurst kind of changed that around a little bit."
This also revolves around the Green Monster, the 34-foot-high wall in left field that is supposedly an inviting target for right-handed hitters, especially when they are going against left-handed pitchers. But Connor said a pitcher can combat that.
"For me, a left-hander has to pitch inside," Connor said. "He can't pitch outside all the time because a right-hander can go out and hook the ball. Left-handers in today's game are pitching more inside anyway but anywhere where there is a short porch, you have to make pitches inside."
BOS: RHP Curt Schilling (11-3, 3.42)
Schilling is 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA in three starts in July and 6-1 with a 3.20 ERA in his last 12 starts. He is ninth in the league in ERA and third in strikeouts (124) and innings pitched (134.1). He is 7-0 with a 2.41 ERA at Fenway Park, the fourth lowest home ERA in the American League. He is 3-0 with a 3.42 ERA in seven career appearances against the Rangers.
TEX: LHP John Rheinecker (4-4, 4.82)
Player to watch
Rheinecker is 2-4 with a 6.90 ERA in his last six starts. He started against the Red Sox on June 10 in Fenway Park and allowed three runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings but was not involved in the decision as the Rangers rallied for a 7-4 victory. Right-handed hitters are hitting .372 off him while left-handed hitters are hitting .178 off him. He has also struck out just 21 battters in 56 innings.
Gary Matthews Jr. is 9-for-22 off Red Sox pitching so far this season. He is 4-for-17 lifetime off Schilling. He also has a .343 batting average at Fenway Park, his highest at any American League park in his career.
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Official game notes
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Friday: Rangers (RHP John Wasdin, 2-2, 5.01) at White Sox (LHP Mark Buehrle, 9-7, 4.43) 7:30 p.m. CT
Saturday: Rangers (LHP John Koronka, 6-6, 5.22) at White Sox (RHP Freddy Garcia, 10-6, 5.07) 6:05 p.m. CT
Sunday: Rangers (RHP Vicente Padilla, 10-5, 4.15) at White Sox (RHP Jon Garland, 9-3, 5.12) 1:05 p.m. CT
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.