G13: Rangers win again, 6-2 over Oakland

A much better game than the first two in the series – this looked like the Seattle series. There wasn’t a whole lot wrong with this game that I could tell other than Eric Gunderson, who looks like he probably pitched himself down to AAA when Mike Simms is ready to come back.
Mike Morgan is looking again like he’s going to be the steal of the offseason. Through 5 innings, Mike had pitched only 65 pitches with two hits (although one of them was a solo HR), and 85 pitches through 6 innings. There were a couple of 1-2-3 innings, and he looked pretty dominating. The seventh seems to be his limit so far this season – a double and then Ben Grieve singled in a run, so he got taken out before a whole lot of damage could be done. Was a great outing still, only giving up two runs on 4 hits. Jeff Zimmerman came in and pitched and retired just about everyone he faced, giving up only one hit over two innings, and 2 strikeouts. Once the hitters figure him out, he won’t be as dominating, but it’s still nice to have an arm like this. I’d be shocked if he was sent back down when Simms comes up.
The Rangers bats were a bit more awake than in the first two games of this series. Point in case.. The Rangers had nine hits through the first out in the fourth inning, which was more than they had in the first two games against the A’s combined! The fourth was a power inning for us. Todd Zeile had a big solo home run to left (there was a funny visual on TV of the ball bouncing down a flight of stairs), and then two pitches later, Lee Stevens hit what Bill Jones called a “titanic blast” to right field – the first back to back home runs by the Rangers for the year. Raffy also had a spectacular day; he was 4 for 4 with two RBI’s and a run scored – looked good. Probably would have had a double if he could run as fast as he normally does. Todd Zeile also had a great day on the field, making a couple of really great plays – lookd like the veteran third baseman we dealt for last year. :)
Silly play in the third – Goodwin was going to steal second, and the A’s shortstop (I think it was the shortstop) stood on the base waiting for the ball to come in, and the base itself came out of the ground and up in the air. Goodwin was called out (see photos below), but I have to wonder if the play would have gone the Rangers way if the base had stayed in the ground. Speaking of stolen bases, Lee Stevens had one, and it was his 5th in his career, and his first since 1997.
There was one really funny thing they did on the TV – they put Tom Grieve up on screen, and had a graphic that said “.000 batting average this season”. Thought that was rather funny. :) A great game – but our weak ass pitching is headed to Yankee Stadium next – I don’t feel very confident there at all. Can we have Sele & Morgan pitch there? :)
Commentary by Jim Meeks:
The Rangers’ salvaged what was almost a Lost Weekend by defeating the Oakland Athletics Sunday.
Paced by a great (for Texas pitching) outing by Mike Morgan, terrific defense from Todd Zeile and shutout relief from Jeff Zimmerman and John Wetteland, the Rangers held the A’s to 7 hits.
The Rangers’ banged out 15 hits, including 4 for Rafael Palmeiro, who finally saw his batting average eclipse .300 (he’s now hitting .333). Palmeiro also added a couple of RBI’s.
Texas hit back-to-back homers in the 4th when Zeile and Lee Stevens connected. That’s the first time this year they’ve done that.
With the pitching the Rangers got Sunday from Morgan, they could have beaten anyone. Here’s hoping it continues, as the Rangers travel to Yankee Stadium Tuesday to play the hated Yankees.