Texas 4 Oakland 3 June 29, 2012

Matt Harrison pitched an excellent game tonight.  He has been the Ranger’s most consistent pitcher all season, and one of only two of the original starters left after the disabled list pretty much claimed everyone else besides Yu Darvish.  He leads the American League with 11 wins now (tied with David Price).  ESPN published their picks for the American League All-Star roster today.  Three out of the four writers had Harrison in their list of pitchers.  Two had picked Yu Darvish (who has 10 wins), as well.  Today Darvish did say that he did not feel like he deserved to be on the All-Star roster.

Back to Harrison and the game tonight.  Lately, it seems like every time Harrison goes out the Rangers struggle offensively.  On June 18, the Rangers scored 2 runs in the 1st and never scored again against the San Diego Padres.  Harrison had to hold a 1-run lead to get the win.  In his prior start, he went 7 1/3 scoreless against the Diamondbacks, but the Rangers offense didn’t bother to score until the 8th inning giving Mike Adams a 1-0 win.  And it was like that again tonight.  The offense couldn’t do anything against Oakland’s A.J. Griffin who went six innings and gave up only 2 hits.  The Rangers could only string together 4 hits for the entire game.  Another extremely lackluster performance from the best hitting team in the league.  But that was enough as Craig Gentry came through with a clutch 3-run, pinch-hit triple in the bottom of the 8th to take the lead and secure the win.

It was nice to see Tanner Scheppers come in and close it out for his first major league save.  Joe Nathan got a rest after having pitched in 3 straight games.  It was NOT nice to see Mike Napoli continue to look like a minor leaguer at the plate.  Griffin made him look completely silly on a slow breaking curve ball with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 2nd.  He managed to strike out 2 more times in the game, once with Gentry on third in the bottom of the 8th.  Napoli now has 79 strike outs on the season to 52 hits.  He’s only 6 strike outs shy of matching his complete total from last year.  The reality is, and the Ranger broadcasters won’t talk about it, Napoli is just absolutely horrible right now, and I don’t know what he needs to do to fix it.  In the 2nd inning at bat, he saw two fastballs, belt high, right down the middle and could only manage to foul each of them off.  Last year, he would have completely crushed the first one and there wouldn’t have been a need for the second.  Right now, he is by far the worst regular starter in the lineup.

But taking the good with the bad, the Rangers improved their league leading record tonight to 49-29, 20 games over .500.

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5 Responses to Texas 4 Oakland 3 June 29, 2012

  1. Dale says:

    Looks like a another win for the good guys. The Rangers are back on top. You know what that means, don’t you? It is only a matter of time before Bud Selig and his men-in-black MLB operatives start conspiring to bring the Rangers down, all in the interests of “parity.” Just you watch…

    • Dale, by now your name and particulars have been fed by Bud Selig into every laptop, desktop, mainframe and supermarket scanner that collectively make up the global information conspiracy, otherwise known as “The Beast.”

  2. Brian says:

    My take on Napoli…
    Here’s his BA’s for each season in the bigs:
    .227, .246, .273, .272, .238, .320, .242 (so far this season). In four of his first five seasons he had more strike outs than hits, though this season he is on record pace for SO’s. He has always shown potential for 20-30 HR’s a season. I think the Napoli we had last year was a beast, but a bit of an aberration. Glad the Rangers waited to sign him to a deal. I like him…but not at what they would have paid had they signed him after last season.

    • I agree with all of that, except to say that his performance last season was more than a “bit of an aberration.” He had career highs in most everything. So, it’s not surprising to me that he came crashing back to earth this season. If you take away last year, he’s basically playing at his normal level. That being said, it’s still a disappointment. The guy who is really under-performing given his career numbers and his numbers from last year is Michael Young. He’s hitting almost 30 points lower than his career average. I think I mentioned this on Facebook earlier this week, but imagine if Napoli was playing even close to how he played last year, and Michael Young was putting up just his regular every season numbers? This team might be close to 30 games over .500.

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