The Rangers got two excellent pitching performances on Tuesday and Wednesday. In the Tuesday game, Roy Oswalt threw 6 1/3 innings giving up only 1 run on 3 hits, with 6 strikeouts. Ross, Ogando, Adams, and Scheppers all pitched the final innings beating the A’s 6-1. Oswalt has been good in his last two starts. He allowed 5 hits and 1 run to the Twins before the All-Star break and has lowered his ERA from 7.79 to 5.22 in two games. On Wednesday, Colby Lewis only allowed 1 run on 3 hits in 5 innings, in his first start off the DL. He probably could have gone more, but it looked like Wash had him on a pitch count. That opened up the door for each pitcher after him to give up a run, resulting in Michael Kirkman eventually losing the game on a walk-off homerun from pinch-hitter Brandon Hicks. Hicks was hitting .171 and had only played in 11 games prior to the walk-off. It was his first career Major League homer.
The offense looked better on Tuesday, collecting 9 hits, scoring 6 runs, and belting 2 homeruns (Beltre and Hamilton). But, some things still continued. Hamilton had 3 strikeouts before the 6th inning and while still hitting a homerun later, looked pretty foolish at the plate swinging at numerous pitches out of the strikezone. Mike Napoli had a nice RBI single in the game, driving in Nelson Cruz from 3rd. But, on Wednesday, he continued his struggles at the plate, going 0-4 with 2 strikeouts. He came up with 2 runners on in the 6th and managed to strike out again with runners in scoring position. And in the top of the 9th, after Nelson Cruz led off the inning with a double, he struck out a second time. In fact, showing no respect to Napoli at all, with Cruz on 2nd and no outs, the A’s chose to pitch to Napoli. After the strikeout they immediately intentionally walked David Murphy to put the double-play into affect.
The Rangers are now 55-36, and thanks to a loss today from the Angels go into the division rivalry series this weekend leading the Angels by 6 games in the American League West. Derek Holland will pitch Friday night against Jered Weaver followed by Yu Darvish vs. Ervin Santana on Saturday. Holland is coming off a win in Seattle, but Darvish followed that with one of his worst outings of the season losing 7-0. He is 0-2 in his last two starts with a 6.75 ERA. Hopefully he can bounce back against Santana. Weaver gave up 5 runs on 10 hits in his last start against the Yankees. But, he’s been one of the most dominant pitchers in the league this season posting an 11-1 record with a 2.26 ERA. Santana, on the other hand, has been struggling all year. He’s 4-9 with a 5.60 ERA. His last start against the Tigers wasn’t great. He gave up 4 runs on 8 hits over 6 innings.
The Friday night game is a 6:05pm CST start, and they play at 12:05pm CST on Saturday.