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G3: Rangers take down Detroit again, 10-7

First off, what was with Fox Sports Southwest last night? At least here in Garland, I was shown the Astros Cubs game. Everything said it was to be FSS, but the Astros game was on there. What’s more annoying was that it was also on ESPN, too! CRAP! I suspect someone was asleep at the wheel either at FSS or my cable company and was showing the wrong feed. At least I got to hear it, but I was all ready to watch the game. Grrrr….
Mark Clark started the game off well, I thought he was going to repeat what Sele had done the night before. It went that way until the fourth. Actually, if you count all three games played so far, the Rangers held the Tigers scoreless for 15 innings, as they didn’t score in the final three of the opening day fiasco, either. Clark gave up two home runs, which seemed to be his undoing. I didn’t think he was all that bad, but he didn’t do as good as Sele did last night. Still, it’s only his first game, I’m not gonna blast him yet. Crabby, though, is not pitching very well so far. Tonight it was no outs, and three earned runs. At this rate, he might end up back in the minors, and we could bring up Zimmerman (Jim says more or less the same thing below). Mike Morgan continued to impress, but he may be hurt now (as is Clayton, too). It ended up that Mark Clark got the win, his 10th different club he got a win for. There was some talk on the radio that a ball might go to the Hall of Fame with the hat that went there from opening day.
Raffy finally hit a home run (would have been nice to see it, FSS!), and our offense just kept battling back. Was nice to see a come from behind win, and to hang on to it, even though some of our pitching was trying to give the Tigers the game. Lee Stevens had another great night, pushing four runs across the plate. Also, Todd Zeile had another good night with two doubles. One run last night was a gift – you always like to see bases loaded with a 3-0 count on your batter. Yup, we got the free pass. Only thing more embarrassing than that would be a bases loaded balk. :)
The Tigers look much improved over last year so far, and I’d like them to have some success this year (just not enough so it’s a problem for the Rangers). :)
Commentary by Jim Meeks:
The Rangers’ offense brought out the big bats Wednesday to thrash the Tigers, 10-7. The Boys from Arlington pounded out 18 hits including 6 doubles and a home run.
Starter Mark Clark pitched well for three innings then completely lost control of the ball game. His line stats were similar to Rick Helling’s on Monday but not quite as bad. He still gave up 2 homers, 2 bases on balls and 2 wild pitches, not to mention the 4 earned runs and 6 hits in a span of 1.1 innings.
Fortunately, the Rangers were bailed out again by Mike Morgan, who’s sweaty cap was recently turned over to Cooperstown. He pitched brilliantly, inducing a double play ball on the first batter he faced in the fifth to clean up a messy Clark jam.
While the game was close at times, the Tigers’ bullpen just couldn’t stop the Rangers’ relentless hitting attack. The bats took on dimensions seldom seen last year, as the Rangers showcased the team’s newly-found (and 67% left-handed) power from designated hitter Rafael Palmeiro, first baseman Lee Stevens and third baseman Todd Zeile. Palmeiro led off the 7th with a very important solo home run that cleared the Rangers’ bullpen and made the upper deck in right-center. Amazingly, only two balls were hit into the Home Run Porch last year by Ranger hitters; Stevens did so early in the year and Will Clark accomplished the feat late in the ’98 campaign.
Stevens rapped out 3 hits and drove in 4 runs, all which were important when he drove them in. He drew a bases-loaded walk off lefty CJ Nitkowski and singled off Sean Runyan and made the Tigers’ relievers pay for walking Zeile to face him with a lefty. If Stevens can hit left handers like this, then the team can survive the loss of Mike Simms quite easily.
Zeile, known for his notoriously slow starts, had 2 more doubles (he already has 3 on the young season) and 3 hits and is hitting over .600. In the field he shined as well, as he dove to his right to snare a screaming liner off the bat of suddenly-scary-to-see-him-come-up Juan Encarnacion in the 5th.
The Rangers somehow found a way to finally shut down the Tigers’ offense, which looks to able to score a bunch of runs this year. In what can only be described as a l-o-n-g (it lasted about 19 minutes) and gut-wrenching top half of the 8th inning, the Rangers’ bullpen was both effective and ineffective. When the Rangers needed the outs, they managed to get them. Otherwise, it was nail-biting and cover-your-eyes time for Rangers’ fans.
Tim Crabtree was simply terrible. If he has another outing like last night’s (see box score), there’s a chance he could go to AAA since he still has a Minor League option left. The Rangers could then call up Jeff Zimmerman.
Eric Gunderson threw one pitch and retired the lone hitter he faced, otherwise they might still be playing at The Ballpark. Ok, there’s a curfew, but you get the point.
Danny Patterson was only slightly better than Crabtree – and I use the word better quite loosely.
John Wetteland finally put a cap on the scary 3-run Detroit eruption in the 8th and nailed down the save in the 9th. He certainly seemed like his old self.
The Rangers, in fact, were their old offensive selves too as they completely leveled the visiting Tigers with impressive precision.