Last night’s game was loooooong. It started at 7:05pm and wasn’t finished until after 11:00pm. It seemed like every time the Angels would get a lead, the Rangers would get it back, and every time the Rangers got a lead the Angels would get it back. And, it just kept going and going.
Ryan Dempster had a bad night. And when I say “had a bad night,” I mean he was horrible. Roy Oswalt had to have been sitting out there in the bullpen muttering things like, “Well, I could have done that,” or “I thought this guy was supposed to be better than me.” And, ironically enough, Oswalt picked up the win after pitching two scoreless innings in relief, on just two days rest. Dempster pitched 4 2/3 innings, gave up 8 runs, on 9 hits and 3 walks. He couldn’t get the ball down and it seemed like every time he threw one near the plate they got every last bit of it. He did have a good cut fastball that tailed away and, he managed to get 6 strikeouts by using it effectively. But nothing else worked. Cliff Lee had a rough night in his debut at the Ballpark. It wasn’t as bad as Dempster’s but hopefully Dempster can pull himself together and finish out the season like Lee did.
The Ranger offense, on the other hand, was terrific. They beat down the Angel pitching staff like Mike Tyson facing Little Mac for the first time on Nintendo. They scored 15 runs on 18 hits, and everyone had a hit except Gentry. But even Gentry contributed with a hit-by-pitch in the bottom of the 2nd that eventually led to a run. Kinsler had 3 hits, including a leadoff homerun, and 2 RBI, Andrus had 2 hits and 2 RBI, Hamilton had 2 hits and 4 RBI, Young had 2 hits and 2 RBI, Soto (the new guy) had 2 hits and 2 RBI, Moreland (a pinch hitter) had 2 hits and 1 RBI, Cruz had a homerun, and Murphy (a pinch hitter) had 2 hits and 1 RBI.
I would like to know the last time a team pinch hit two guys, back-to-back, in the same inning, and then had them both go 2 for 2 to finish the game. And, Moreland’s second hit was both hilarious for Ranger fans, and embarrassing for Angel fans. All Moreland did was hit a lazy fly ball down the right field line. But, the wind played havoc with Torii Hunter and it fell in for a single as Hunter completely miss-played it, lunging to his right at the last second but coming up empty.
The Angels went through 5 pitchers, and LaTroy Hawkins was the only one not to give up a run. All the others gave up at least 2 runs to a Ranger offense that broke out to score 36 runs in the four game series. CJ Wilson left in the 5th inning to loud boos from the Ranger fans in attendance. His line: 5 1/3 innings, 10 hits, 8 runs, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts, 2 homeruns. In one game, his ERA went from 2.88 to 3.27.
In the first two games of August, the Rangers hit .417 as a team, scored 26 runs, with 35 hits, 10 doubles, 4 homeruns, 26 RBIs, 9 walks, and a team OPS of 1.152. In July, it took the team 11 games to score 26 runs.
And, this all overlooks Mike Olt’s first major league hit in his first major league at-bat. He should have gotten another hit his second time up, but Andrew Romine made an incredible diving catch to rob him of a line drive hit to left. Both Olt and Soto looked good. Olt smoked the ball to left twice and Soto roped a single to left, lifted a 400ft. drive to center that was caught at the base of the wall, and scorched a double to left that scored two runs, in the 8th. I already feel like I’m more confident with him at the plate than Torrealba.
With the win, the Rangers improved their record to 61-43, setting their lead over the Angels back to 5 games. Oakland won too, so they are now in 2nd place in the West back 4.5 games of the Rangers.
The Rangers play at Kansas City tonight, beginning a three game series there. Matt Harrison will try to get his 13th win against Jeremy Guthrie who is 0-2 with a 9.58 ERA. Not a good sign for the Royals with a Ranger offense that appears to be locked and loaded coming into town.
The team then goes to Boston to face the struggling Red Sox for three games.