Texas Rangers' Week 12 Review: West Lead Gone, But Not Lost
OK, first things first.
Let's get the facts straight first.
The Angels are a good team and they are finally getting healthy. They have a starting rotation that rivals the best in all of baseball and some solid sticks in the lineup, but they are not unbeatable.
The Angels do not have as good of a lineup as they have had in the past few years and their bullpen has been and will likely continue to be a hindrance.
Tuesday: L, 2-8 (37-32)
Matt Harrison took the mound to start a three-game series against the Diamondbacks, but he didn’t last long. Harrison struggled right out of the gate and was eventually pulled before the end of the fourth inning. In that time, he allowed seven earned runs on seven hits and four walks.
The Ranger offense did not provide much help scoring only single runs in the third and fourth inning. Arizona starter Max Scherzer dominated the Ranger lineup for six innings as he struck out seven total.
Wednesday: W, 2-1 (38-32)
Vicente Padilla took the mound and went seven solid innings to snap the Rangers five game losing streak. Padilla allowed just one earned run on six hits and out-dueled D’backs ace Dan Haren. Haren only allowed two earned runs on four hits in his seven innings while striking out eight.
An RBI double from Taylor Teagarden in the second inning scored Marlon Byrd, and then in the third David Murphy’s RBI single scored Ian Kinsler, who had singled and then stole second.
Thursday: W, 9-8 (12) (39-32)
After what has seemed as a month long slump for the offense, the Ranger bats finally broke free, scoring nine times. It was the first time since May 30 that Texas had scored more than six runs in a game.
After allowing a two-run home run to Mark Reynolds in the first inning, Ranger starter Scott Feldman calmed down and only allowed three base runners and one run over the next 5.1 innings he pitched.
That was enough stability for the Texas bats to awake and take the lead back. The offense notched 15 hits, five doubles, and three home runs. Ian Kinsler scored three times, Andruw Jones drove in three runs, and Chris Davis went 4-for-5, scoring two runs, knocking in two RBI, hitting a homer and double to try and salvage his seemingly season-long slump.
The bullpen could not hold the lead and the game went into extra innings. In the 12th when Texas got two, two-out home runs, Davis (14, two-run) and Murphy (fourth, solo).
Friday: W, 12-2 (40-32)
Playing late into the night and then flying home from Arizona was not enough to break the hot streak of the Ranger bats as they dropped a dozen on the Padres in the series opener.
Texas had the bases loaded in each of the first three innings and scored nine of their 12 runs in that time off of the Padres starter, Walter Silva.
Finally Ranger ace Kevin Millwood got some run support. Millwood struggled with his command early, but finished with a quality start, going six innings and striking out five.
The Ranger offense was highlighted by:
Elvis Andrus—4-for-4, run, two RBI, triple
David Murphy—1-for-4, two runs, three-run homer
Hank Blalock—2-for-4, two runs, two RBI, home run
Saturday: L, 3-7 (40-33)
With the loss and for the first time since May 5, the Rangers found themselves looking up at the AL West lead.
Coming off a spectacular performance in San Francisco, Derek Holland struggled again in this outing. He breezed through the first inning, but after that San Diego hitters jumped on his first pitch strikes. He did last 5.2 innings, giving up seven runs (six earned) on 13 hits, however he did strikeout eight.
On the flip side Holland did become the first player in Major League Baseball history to allow 13 hits while striking out eight in less than six innings pitched.
The Ranger offense, again struggled to put hits together and get runners in scoring position against San Diego starter Kevin Correia. Correia went seven innings, allowing three runs on five hits, and striking out nine.
Sunday: L, 0-2 (40-34)
With Matt Harrison going back to DL, Tommy Hunter has to make an emergency start. Not only that but he was also making his case to not only remain on the big league roster but in the starting rotation.
Hunter needed only 94 pitches to go 6.1 innings, allowed only two earned runs on seven hits, no walks, and three strikeouts. Hunter was only beat by a Scott Hairston's fourth inning solo home run and Everth Cabrera's sixth inning triple.
Unfortunately for Hunter he got zero run support as the Ranger bats again hit rock bottom. Texas only scrounged a Michael Young single in the first inning off starter Chad Gaudin. Gaudin went eight shutout innings, giving up only the one hit, two walks, and striking out nine.
The Rangers finished up interleague play going 9-9, 5-1 against the Astros and 4-8 against the NL West.
The Rangers did finish 3-3 on the week, but with the Angels on another five game winning streak and finishing 14-4 in interleague the Rangers lost their AL West lead.
The Rangers continue their home stand with three against the Angels, a day off on Thursday, and then a three-game series against the now surging Tampa Bay Rays.
The Angels are currently 41-32, 1.5 game lead on Texas. Right behind the Rangers, as well, are the Mariners (39-36), three games out of first and 1.5 behind Texas. The Athletics (31-43) are now 10.5 out of first and might be out of the race in the midst of a five-game losing streak.
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