Rich Harden pitches well in return from disabled list

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Rangers right-hander Rich Harden was activated from the 15-day disabled list on Saturday night and took the mound immediately against the Angels.  Coming off a six-week stint on the disabled list and entering the outing with a 5.68 ERA and 1.68 WHIP, it wouldn’t have surprised anyone if he got shelled.

But he didn’t.  Harden limited the Angels to five hits and one earned run over five innings while racking up three strikeouts and firing 62 of his 88 pitches for strikes.  The Rangers won the game 2-1 and the 28-year-old moved to 4-3 on the year.  He talked to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Anthony Andro afterward.

“It felt good. It’s been a long wait, just thinking about getting out
there. It’s not a good feeling not being able to pitch and not being
able to help your team out. I really wanted to go out and be aggressive
and put the ball in play.”

Harden had a brutal start to the 2010 season including a 5.68 ERA over five starts in May and a 7.31 ERA over three starts in June.  But ask any American League hitter — or just check the stats — and you’ll find that Harden is regarded as one of the nastiest starters in the game.  He employs a fastball-changeup combination that can be lethal and his 9.21 career strikeouts-per-nine innings rate is exceptional.  He’s going to play a major role for the playoff-bound Rangers down the stretch, and possibly into October.

World Series Game 1 lineups

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The World Series kicks off Tuesday night at Fenway Park in Boston between the Dodgers and Red Sox. The Dodgers are aiming to take home their first championship since 1988 while the Red Sox haven’t won it all since 2013, a long and arduous five years. Here are the Game 1 lineups along with each player’s postseason stats.

Dodgers

2B Brian Dozier (R)
3B Justin Turner (R)
1B David Freese (R)
SS Manny Machado (R)
LF Chris Taylor (R)
DH Matt Kemp (R)
CF Enrique Hernández (R)
RF Yasiel Puig (R)
C Austin Barnes (R)

SP Clayton Kershaw (LHP)

Red Sox

RF Mookie Betts (R)
LF Andrew Benintendi (L)
1B Steve Pearce (R)
DH J.D. Martinez (R)
SS Xander Bogaerts (R)
3B Rafael Devers (L)
2B Ian Kinsler (R)
C Sandy León (S)
CF Jackie Bradley, Jr. (L)

SP Chris Sale (LHP)

No surprises here. Both teams loaded their lineups with right-handed hitters against the lefty starters. There won’t be any trickery, either, like what Brewers manager Craig Counsell tried to pull in the NLCS against the Dodgers, starting lefty Wade Miley and pulling him after one batter in favor of right-hander Brandon Woodruff. Both teams expect their respective starters to go deep into Game 1.