Rangers’ Bats Silenced By Mariners
The Rangers’ offense took a three day vacation this week in Seattle, and the team was fortunate to scratch out one win to avoid a sweep in this three game series with the Mariners. The Rangers have not been shut out in 45 games this year, but had to score late in Monday’s and Wednesday’s losses to keep that streak alive. The series completed a 3-3 road trip and ended a stretch of 20 games played in 20 days, in which the Rangers were 10-10. After an off day Thursday, the Texas returns to action this weekend in Arlington against Toronto.
The Mariners’ series opened Monday night with the Rangers’ best pitcher to date, Yu Darvish, having his worst start of the year. The first two batters he faced were symptomatic of his game. He struck out the first batter on three pitches, and then walked the second on four. From one batter to the next, he was either very good, or very bad, but mostly bad. He needed 96 pitches to struggle through four innings, giving up four hits and walking six that led to five Mariners’ runs. Texas lost 6-1, with the lone score coming on a Mitch Moreland home run in the eighth inning when the game was well out of hand.
Monday’s game was the first for Darvish to face a team that he had already pitched against this season. In fact, the Rangers had played 14 series to start the year against 14 different opponents before facing Seattle for the second time. Darvish beat Seattle in his April 9 debut, but struggled mightily in that game too. In two starts against Seattle, he is 1-1, with an 8.38 ERA. In his other seven starts, he is 5-1, with a 1.94 ERA. His biggest problem against the M’s has been the walks – he’s allowed 10 in 9-2/3rds innings. That has led to 10 runs scored. It’s an interesting statistic as the Mariners are one of the weakest offensive units in baseball.
The Texas Rangers win came in game two Tuesday night. Matt Harrison looked terrible in the first, needing 36 pitches to get through the inning. Miraculously, the Mariners tallied just one run. Harrison then proceeded to pitch into the eighth inning without allowing any additional scoreboard damage. It was definitely an impressive performance by Harrison to scramble back from an awful start to the game to turn in such a fine outing; and it was an outing he needed, as his previous three had not been good.
Mike Adams and Joe Nathan finished up the game. Texas rallied for three runs, making Harrison a winner – his fifth of the season against three losses. Nathan was sharp in the ninth earning his 10th save in the 3-1 win.
Wednesday afternoon’s getaway affair was Scott Feldman’s third start of the year, but the first in which he had a real chance to claim a spot in the starting rotation, as Neftali Feliz was placed on the disabled list two days earlier. Feldman’s outing was definitely disappointing. Much like Darvish’s start, walks led to his downfall. He walked the bases loaded to start the second inning, and was fortunate to escape with just one run allowed. In the fifth, Seattle loaded the bases again with one out, two of which reached on walks, though one was intentional. Alex Liddi made Feldman pay this time with a line drive home run down the left field line.
That ran the Mariners’ lead to 5-0, putting the game out of reach for Texas. The Rangers averted the shutout with three eighth inning runs, two coming across on Adrian Beltre’s ninth home run. That made it a ball game again, but the Rangers went quietly in the ninth in the 5-3 loss.
After the game, Feldman indicated he has been told that he will start again next Tuesday, when Feliz’s rotation spot comes up again. Realistically, the Rangers don’t have many options in the short run, and the best option is for Feldman to pitch well.
Texas for sure looked like a team that needs a day off. Hopefully, the combination of being back home and the off day will pep up the offense this weekend against Toronto. All three games are virtually sellouts. The home stand continues next week when Seattle makes their second trip of the year to Arlington for three games.
Article by Dic Humphrey: Dic is a staff writer for Rattle and Hum Sports. He worked for MLB.com for seven years and has been covering baseball his entire life.