ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 29: Alexi Ogando #41 of the Texas Rangers throws against the Kansas City Royals at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on May 29, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Alexi Ogando Does It Again As Rangers Top Tigers 7-3

Alexi Ogando takes the mound for Texas as he looks to put an end to Texas' two game losing streak.

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Sluggers Salvage Sour Series (Alexi Ogando, Too)


Final - 6.8.2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Detroit Tigers 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 9 2
Texas Rangers 0 0 4 1 1 0 1 0 X 7 12 2
WP: Alexi Ogando (7 - 0)
LP: Phil Coke (1 - 6)

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With one out in the bottom of the third Wednesday, it looked like the Rangers might be headed towards another awful game in what had been a miserable series. Alexi Ogando had allowed the Tigers a 1-0 lead with a homerun by the second batter of the game, and took 40 pitches to get through the first two innings. The Rangers, meanwhile, could not get to Phil Coke, seeing just 16 pitches through the first two scoreless innings.

Sure, it was early. Things were looking better, after Ogando had only taken five pitches to get through the third, and the Rangers had the bases loaded. But Craig Gentry was the man at the plate, Ogando's count was still high, and after the way the first two games went, it was hard to really look at the game in a positive light. Gentry hit the fifth pitch he saw on the ground, and it looked like, yes, the game was going to be another horrible day against Detroit.

Then magic happened.

Don Kelly -- who represented the only run to that point -- couldn't get to the ball in time to turn a double play, but he still had a chance to keep the Rangers from scoring a run. Except he tossed the ball over the head of the catcher, allowing Yorvit Torrealba to score, and an alert Chris Davis -- called up to fill in for Ian Kinsler -- got in, as well. In a split second, the Rangers went from seemingly wasting a good opportunity in a losing effort to taking the lead. And as if the Tigers hadn't paid enough, that brought up Josh Hamilton, who smoked a ball to right field for a double, and suddenly everything was different as it was 4-1 Rangers.

Of course, that play likely didn't actually change the results of the game. Ogando never really struggled again, allowing just four more baserunners through the next four and two thirds-innings pitched, and no more runs. His final line of seven strikeouts, two walks, and just one run allowed makes the rough start to the game seem hard to believe. Kelly's throw and Davis's hustle didn't make Ogando pitch better. Conversely, Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus singles (one of three more hits) and a Beltre home run added runs that were enough to tie, if not win, even had Torrealba not scored in the third.

But it felt like things changed on that play. Even if only symbolically, it was the awesome moment that made the game feel different than the entire series had to that point, and the Rangers followed it to a nice, easy win.

The bullpen allowed three runs to make the final score a little closer, but it was better than it looked. Darren Oliver had two strikeouts and allowed a legit single to open the first, and that single was followed by a Past A Diving Michael Young™. With one out, Elvis Andrus allowed a deep single to give up a run, and a second scored on a ground out, but came back to end the game on a strikeout. With two swinging strikes, a good slider, and few balls, Feliz looked good for the fourth game in a row, making it even more easy to believe he's back. If Ian Kinsler is in the field, he and Oliver likely combine for a shutout inning and a third with two or three strikeouts in a 7-1 victory.

This series was still awful, but the Tampa and Cleveland series were so good this has still been a great 12 game stretch. At the very least, a sweep was avoided in another easy game with seven more Rangers runs.

Alexi Ogando's 2.10 ERA now ranks second in the American League after tonight.

GAME CHARTS

FanGraphs Win Expectancy

Wpa_medium

Biggest Contributions (What is this, I don't even. . . ?)

  1. Craig Gentry 19%
  2. Alexi Ogand 17%
  3. Elvis Andrus 9%

Ed Rapuano's Strikezone from Brooks Baseball

Strikezone_medium

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Tigers Pound Lewis


Final - 6.6.2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R
Detroit Tigers 3 0 4 2 0 1 1 0 2 13
Texas Rangers 0 0 2 3 0 0 0 2 0 7

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Nothing like a blow-out loss at home to help douse the excitement of your fans after an awesome road trip.

Colby Lewis just refuses to stay good in 2011. The velocity problems he had earlier in the season showed up again, and they were coupled with a total lack of command. Lewis struggled to find the zone, and when he did, he struggled to miss bats and often found too much of the plate. That resulted in ten hits, a walk, and four home runs -- most of them towering -- on the night, with nine earned runs in just three and a third inning for one awful start.

Here's what Colby Lewis looked like against lefties tonight:

Colbywasawful_medium

Those aqua marine squares are balls right smack in the center of the plate that lefties turned in to hits. Three of them home runs (the fourth is in the upper right, up and in to Avila). That's awful, those home runs accounted for 7 runs, and just like that you see what was wrong with Mr. Lewis tonight: too much plate. The Tigers stacked the lineup with five lefties against him, and that worked out to perfection on a night when he was just off.

It was a bad night for a pitcher to be off, too, because Brennan Boesch was on. After a soft single and a walk, Boesch made the game 3-0 Tigers before an out was even recorded with a shot to the upper deck. After it looked like Lewis was settling down, Boesch began the third with another home run for his second of five hits, including a double to go with the homers.

Lewis was pretty much the one bad sign tonight, though. Michael Kirman surrendered a couple of runs, but that came over three and a third innings with only three hits and a couple of strikeouts. Also a walk, so it wasn't great, but it was another reliever being at least fine, and four swinging strikes in that time is nifty. The two runs were charged to Kirkman, but they were allowed by Yoshinori Tateyama, who gave up a double immediately out of the pen, but didn't allow a base runner for the rest of his inning and a third. That's some good pitching and just two earned runs given up over just shy of five innings from two guys who have been looking good since being called up, and that buys one more day in a row that the Rangers bullpen looks alright.

Darren Oliver (two runs over one inning) did not look alright, but that's nothing we didn't already know about, and likely a cause most have given up on. If he doesn't see righties in tight games and the rest of the pen keeps up their recent history, it could be okay.

Unfortunately, Lewis's awful start wasted another great day from the offense, but that also means yet another thing that wasn't bad tonight. Ian Kinsler broke out with three hits, a triple, and a walk, and Nelson Cruz had two home runs, reasserting that the rust is off and he's going to be just fine. On a night like this, you usually win when your starter was very bad. And Colby Lewis was very bad. Hopefully, there will be more of these where he's not.

At least the draft was fun, huh?

GAME CHARTS

FanGraphs Win Expectancy

Wpa_medium

Biggest Failures (What is this, I don't even. . . ?)

  1. Colby Lewis -40%
  2. Elvis Andrus -10%
  3. Yorvit Torrealba -9%

Alfonso Marquez's Strikezone from Brooks Baseball

Zoneplot

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