Matt Harrison and the Texas Rangers Put Red Sox Out to Dry in Series Sweep

Clay ThomasContributor IIApril 3, 2011

Matt Harrison and the Texas Rangers Put Red Sox Out to Dry in Series Sweep

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    ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 01:  David Murphy #7 of the Texas Rangers celebrates with Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers after Hamilton hit the game winning RBI double in the bottom of the eighth inning against the Boston Red Sox on Opening Day at Rangers B
    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Seasons can't be won in April and May, but they sure can be lost.

    It's imperative to hit the ground running, and the Texas Rangers looked good. They looked VERY good this weekend, outscoring the Boston Red Sox 26-11 in the three game sweep at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

    The knee-jerk reaction is to say "The Rangers might be serious this year."

    Before we get ahead of ourselves, let us remember it is not a sprint, but a marathon race instead. This Ranger fan is excited though.

    It's hard to hold back such excitement. Looking ahead at this month's schedule, they only have six games against opponents with records above .500 last year. This is the time they need to pounce on the AL West early.

Ranger Pitching Dominates Sox Hitters

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    PEORIA, AZ - MARCH 01:  Matt Harrison #54 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning during spring training at Peoria Stadium on March 1, 2011 in Peoria, Arizona.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Three great outings from the underrated rotation consisting of C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison. Harrison had the best outing, showing remarkable precision and a lot of swagger. The command was good, he was throwing strikes, hitting corners and making the Sox hitters look foolish.

    If Harrison can stay healthy and throw like that every fifth day, he can establish himself as a 15-game winner this year, which is what you want out of the third spot in the rotation.

    The bullpen was solid as well, although they didn't really have to turn to them in clutch situations.

    Lewis did a great job of keeping the Rangers in the game before the offensive onslaught could occur.He picked up a Quality Start by going at least six innings while giving up three or less runs (he actually pitched six NN and gave up three ER.)

    Overall, pitching gets the grade of an A-.

Rangers Rely on Heavy Amount of Longballs in Sweep

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    SURPRISE, AZ - MARCH 11:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers bats against the Cincinnati Reds during the spring training game at Surprise Stadium on March 11, 2011 in Surprise, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The Rangers offense had enough power to keep the lights on in Arlington.

    The groundball, inducing Clay Buchholz, gave up four of the 11 home runs hit in the series by the Rangers.

    Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler each had homeruns in their first three games, tying Dean Palmer's franchise record for most consecutive days with homeruns to start the season. Cruz's homerun was only the second to be in the right field upper deck by a right-handed hitter.

    Mike Napoli welcomed himself to the Rangers by hitting two homeruns in as many days.

    Adrian Beltre also joined the welcome wagon being driven by Napoli by hitting a grand slam on Saturday Night under the lights. The monster shot or a morale changer putting the Rangers up 9-3 in the bottom of the 4th inning. This took the wind out of the Sox sails as they ended up losing 12-5.

Rangers Sweep

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    ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 01:  A Texas Rangers field worker raises the American League Championship flag on Opening Day at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on April 1, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Ultimately, I picked the Rangers and Red Sox to play for a trip to the World Series. I still see this happening, but I have to rethink how good the Sox will be this year. This was a highly anticipated series that the Rangers came out and played hard.

    They got three well deserved wins and have a chance to set the tone in the West with an easier month ahead of them. I predict them ending April atop the AL West with a beautiful 18-11 record.

    This is the time, Rangers; start hot and never look back.