A Half Dozen: Texas Rangers Take 6th Series In A Row
BY: Dic Humphrey
The Texas Rangers made it six series wins in a row when they beat the Tigers Wednesday night 13-9 to take the rubber game of this three game series. Detroit won game one 8-2, but the Rangers came back to win the final two, including Tuesday’s 7-5 victory. The win ran the Rangers’ record to 47-29, a season high 18 games over .500. They maintained their 4.5 game lead over the Angels in the West, and it was their 10th win their last 12 games. The 47-29 record is the best in franchise history after 76 games.
Detroit was the consensus pick to walk away with the American League Central when the season began. After this series, their record moved to 36-39. They left town in third place trailing the White Sox by four games.
The highlight of the series was Yu Darvish’s jewel in game two. It was the warmest day of the season with an official start time temperature of 103. There was a question as to how Darvish would react to the heat, and he did just fine. He gutted out seven innings allowing four earned runs on four hits and a walk. He struck out 10, the fourth time he has turned in a double digit strikeout total, the most in the American League. He earned his 10th win, tying teammate Matt Harrison and Tampa Bay’s David Price for the American League lead. Darvish has definitely put in a strong bid for the All-Star team.
On the offensive side, the Texas Rangers had an even distribution. Eight players banged out 10 hits. The two long flies were from the bats of Ian Kinsler leading off the game, his 22nd career leadoff home run, and Josh Hamilton for the second game in a row. Six different Rangers had an RBI, and Elvis Andrus scored on a passed ball.
In the series winning game Wednesday night, Roy Oswalt discovered why he wanted to be a Ranger. He somehow scratched out six innings, allowing a career high 13 hits and walking two more batters. Somehow he managed to keep 10 of those 15 base runners from scoring, holding Detroit to five runs. After years of toiling with little run support in Houston, he won such a poorly pitched game because the Rangers offense put up a double digit scoring total. It was the first Ranger pitcher to allow 13 hits and still win a game since 1980. Oswalt, as he did in his first start, threw a high percentage of strikes – 74 of 107 pitches (69%) were strikes, which may be part of his problem. He is in the strike zone so much; batters are not waiting to swing.
Oswalt said afterward, “It went pretty well. We won. I gave up more hits than I wanted to.” He noted about his style of throwing so many strikes, “I try to pitch fast and get em back in the dugout.”
Offensively, David Murphy had a big night. He had four hits, two of which were home runs, and he drove home five to tie his Major League best. Murphy was quoted after the game, “It was one of those games where everything came together.”
Ranger manager Ron Washington said afterward about Murphy, “It was awesome. We needed everything David gave us tonight.”
Leonys Martin also made a nice contribution with two extra base hits (a double and triple) and a pair of RBI’s.
As for the offense in general, Washington said, “I’m very pleased with what I’m seeing right now. We’re going to do what we need to do to win a game, and that’s what we did tonight.”
The Rangers best minor league pitching prospect, Martin Perez, made his Major League debut in the eighth inning with the Rangers holding an 11-5 lead. It didn’t go well. He couldn’t finish the inning, allowing four runs, though three were unearned. When the dust had cleared, the Tigers had turned a Ranger rout into a two run game.
However, the Rangers offense got two of those runs back in the bottom of the eighth and Joe Nathan finished off the Tigers in the ninth to complete the win.
In the series opener, Justin Grimm made his second Major League start, but his first against an American League batting order. He had mowed down the Astros and earned a win in his debut, but the Tigers proved to be more potent. Grimm could not get an out in the second inning, giving up six runs on eight hits. His ERA jumped to 11.67.
Oakland arrives for a four game series beginning Thursday night. The A’s have played better of late, and a four game sweep would thrust them back into the race in the West. Not likely, but stranger things have happened. The pitching matchups are:
Thursday Tyson Ross (2-7, 6.02) vs. Scott Feldman (1-6, 6.00)
Friday A. J. Griffin (0-0, 3.00) vs. Matt Harrison (10-3, 3.24)
Saturday Tommy Milone (8-5, 3.83) vs. TBA
Sunday Travis Blackley (1-2, 3.05) vs. Yu Darvish (10-4, 3.57)
The Texas Rangers are expected to announce Saturday’s starting pitcher on Thursday. The most likely candidates are Grimm again on the fifth day after his last start, Perez and Michael Kirkman.
- Derek Holland made his first minor league rehab start Wednesday for Round Rock. He completed three innings, allowed three hits and a run on 39 pitches. Afterward, he threw 15 more pitches in the bullpen.
- In attendance at Wednesday’s game: President George W. Bush, Mavericks head Coach Rick Carlisle and Dirk Nowitzki.
- Reserved seats available for this weekend’s series with Oakland: 10,000 Thursday, 1,500 Friday, 1,700 Saturday and 4,500 Sunday.