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|Final - 6.8.2011||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|WP: Alexi Ogando (7 - 0)
LP: Phil Coke (1 - 6)
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.
Biggest Contributions (What is this, I don't even. . . ?)
The Texas Rangers have simply had their clock cleaned by the Detroit Tigers so far through the first two games of their three game series. On Wednesday night, Texas' pleasant rotation surprise Alexi Ogando will look to cool off Detroit's bats and get the Rangers back to their winning ways.
Texas' staff gave up 20 hits last night in their loss to the Tigers. Rick Porcello and the Tigers' bullpen held Texas' offense to just one run in an 8-1 win over Texas. On Monday night, the Tigers outslugged Texas in a 13-7 victory.
Ogando will look to remain perfect on the year on Wednesday. Ogando has easily been Texas' best starter this year - something that is certainly a surprise given that he was a reliever last year and it was unknown how well he'd handle his transition to the rotation. Ogando has been nothing shy of magnificent, posting a 6-0 record to go along with a 2.20 ERA, .88 WHIP while holding opponents to a meager .187 average. Ogando has issued very few walks as his WHIP may suggest, issuing just 16 walks in 73.2 innings while striking out 53.
Texas' bats will be facing off against Phil Coke. Coke, like Ogando, is a converted reliever. Coke made 73 relief appearances for Detroit last year, and 72 for the Yankees in 2009. Thus far on the year spanning nine starts and two relief outings, Coke has a 1-5 record with a 3.81 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. Coke has only struck out 30 while walking 16 in 52 innings of work on the year as well.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CDT.
Randy Galloway said on his afternoon radio show on ESPN radio in Dallas that, according to a source that he could not yet name, the Rangers have fired hitting coach Thad Bosley. According to the source, Scott Coolbaugh will replace Bosley as Texas hitting instructor.
Bosley replaced Clint Hurdle as hitting coach this season after Hurdle was hired to manage the Pirates. Hurdle was credited with turning around Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton after their subpar 2009 season. With Kinsler and others struggling again this season, Bosley seems to be taking the hit. Bosley was hired after a relationship with Ron Washington that dates back decades, but he lasts just two months into his first season with the club.
Galloway speculated further: "I would say that Nolan went to Ron and said, 'Do we have a problem?' Ron confirmed and they did something about it. I would say that this has been going on all season."
Harrison will take the mound on Tuesday night - despite having his own painful injury to overcome. Harrison has yet to pass a kidney stone, but plans on pitching on Tuesday regardless.
Harrison has pitched well in his last three starts, dating back to May 17 against the Chicago White Sox. Harrison allowed three runs in seven innings against the White Sox, and since that start, Harrison hasn't allowed a run - a streak spanning 14.1 innings and two starts. The scoreless streak has brought Harrison's ERA down a very respectable 3.26 on the season. Harrison is also the owner of a 1.25 WHIP and .229 batting average against.
There's still plenty of room for improvement, though, as Harrison has struck out only 34 in 60.2 innings. Further, Harrison has walked 27 on the year as well, giving him a poor SO/BB ratio.
Texas' offense, which was led by Nelson Cruz on Monday night, will face off against Rick Porcello of the Tigers. On the season, Porcello is 5-3 with a 3.79 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and .263 batting average against. Like Harrison, Porcello allows a lot of balls in play, as he's struck out only 36 in 59.1 innings.
Porcello is also 0-1 in his career against the Rangers, giving up six runs on 10 hits in just four innings last year against Texas.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CDT.
|Final - 6.6.2011||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R|
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:
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?
Biggest Failures (What is this, I don't even. . . ?)
The Tigers go strong platoon against Lewis, with four left handed hitters, and the switch hitting Martinez.
The Texas Rangers are returning home to Arlington for a quick series with the Detroit Tigers before headed back out on the road for another road trip. Texas will be looking to extend their winning streak to six games on Monday night, as a four game sweep over the Cleveland Indians has run their current streak to five.
Colby Lewis, who appears to be past his early season struggles, will take the mound for the Rangers. Lewis' last outing, throwing eight scoreless innings en route to a win against the Rays, evened up his record at 5-5. Lewis is also the owner of a 3.48 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and .237 BAA - all very respectable numbers, especially given the rough start to the season Lewis had.
Lewis was downright awful in April, allowing 10 home runs in just 30 innings, helping inflate his ERA to 5.70. Lewis' command also wasn't there, either, as he walked 11 in 30 innings.
Ever since, Lewis has been great, giving up just 10 earned runs in 45 innings, striking out 35 and walking nine. Further, Lewis has only given up three homers in that same span.
Texas' offense will get to face Max Scherzer for the Tigers on Monday night. Scherzer has allowed seven earned runs in each of his past two starts, giving up 16 hits combined in eight and two thirds innings between the two starts. Thanks to that, Scherzer owns a solid 6-2 record, but a 4.38 ERA and 1.47 WHIP. Scherzer can miss bats, though, as he's struck out 68 batters in 72 innings this year.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CDT.