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G8: Rangers blow out Seattle, 15-6

Pudge Rodriguez beat the Seattle Mariners 9-6 last night (OK, the real score was 15-6, but 9 of the 15 were Pudge’s). He whacked a third deck home run in the first inning, scoring three runs. That was only the 21st person to hit a ball up there in the history of the Kingdome. He then went on to hit a two run single in the second, which possibly could have been more than just a single if Jay Buhner didn’t make a really awesome sliding stop of the ball headed to the wall. That put Pudge’s RBI total at 5 for the first two innings. Then comes the third. With the bases loaded, Pudge fouls off a really good pitch for him to hit – if you were watching this on TV, they showed a closeup of Pudge after he fouled off the ball, and he knew it. Then a couple of pitches later came what Bill Jones described as “The ultimate hanging curve ball” that Pudge almost put into the third deck again in left field.
It was Pudge’s first ever grand slam, and boy did he know it. When the ball went, he started running down the first base line, and most of that time was spent looking in the dugout smiling. As he was going around the bases, he was bursting with smiles. It’s funny, as my wife Lynn had just commented not 2 minutes before that you hardly ever see Pudge smile at all during the game. That gave Pudge 9 RBI’s. He had a chance the next at bat to tie the AL record at 11, but he popped out. He was then taken out for Zaun in a complete rout. What a night for Pudge! Check out the pics below for some of the smiling. :)
As great as this was, it wasn’t all that happened tonight that was good. Mike Morgan was really good through the first 6 innings he pitched. The first three innings were perfect – as was the fifth inning. He had only allowed three hits through the end of the sixth inning – although two of them were solo home runs. He was also really economical with his pitching – he had only thrown 24 pitches through the first 3 innings, and a total of 48 through the first 5. Not sure what his final pitch count was, though. He did seem to run out of gas in the 7th, allowing two doubles, and then a home run to bring the run count to 5. Still – it was the best starting pitching performance this season outside of Aaron Sele (who wears glasses – I didn’t know that. Sele was shown in the dugout wearing glasses). One other thing about Morgan. Grieve said this was the first time that Mike Morgan had beaten the Mariners since 1979(!). They also joked that if Mike Morgan is still pitching next season, he’ll be the first pitcher ever to pitch in four decades, and 2 centuries. :) When you look at him, he doesn’t seem like he’s been around quite that long.
After Morgan, we brought in Jeff Zimmerman, who made his major league pitching debut and pitched for 1 2/3 innings, striking out 4 batters of the 6 he faced (one of which was former Ranger Domingo Cedeno & Edgar Martinez). Zimmerman looked VERY impressive. After Zimmerman, Danny Patterson came in for the ninth, and allowed one run (total of 6). Patterson seemed just “OK”. He wasn’t bad, but wasn’t great, either.
One bad thing, though – Raffy came out in the first inning after an RBI single to right with a slightly pulled hamstring. He’s listed as day to day, but it doesn’t have anything to do with the knee surgery – but anytime you hear the word “hamstring”, you worry.
In unbaseball remarks, there were two VERY funny Ranger commercials on TV last night. The first was one about Nolan Ryan and the Hall of Fame, and the other was one of the regular Ranger commercials with John Wetteland. I’m going to try and get them on tape in the next few days – when I do, I’ll have ‘em here as downloads. One final thing. The final batter for the Mariners popped up, and when he did, you could quite clearly hear someone screaming “FUCK”. Not sure who it was for sure, but after the out, Danny Patterson was quite clearly shown going “SHIT” & “FUCK” (if you could read lips, that is). :)
Commentary by Jim Meeks:
It looks like Rodriguez is back in Seattle. Future Hall of Famer Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, that is.
Pudge set a new Texas Rangers’ individual record by bustin’ out the whoopin’ stick and driving in nine runs as the Rangers proved they weren’t the only team with pitching problems – as they destroyed the Mariners, 15 to 6. The 9 RBI’s break a record set by Jose Canseco which was later tied by Juan Gonzalez at 8.
Pudge went nuts in this game, hitting a three-run homer, a grand slam and he hit a couple of singles. The Rangers’ offense thrived off Seattle starter Ken Cloude, who was making his 1999 debut. After this outing, his ERA sits at 37.80. If he could give up a few more earned runs, maybe Doug Melvin will try and make a trade for him…tongue firmly implanted in cheek.
The Rangers literally hate playing in Seattle. In the mid-1990’s, Rangers’ radio announcer Eric Nadel appropriately nicknamed the dome the “House of Horrors” and for good reason – they rarely win there. But they had no problems Tuesday. Just about every Ranger went goo-goo with the bat, (Rusty Greer had 4 hits and a walk, for example). The score was 13-0 before 3 innings were up. End of ball game, time for bed…yawn.
We’ve bitched and moaned the first week of the season about the Rangers’ pitching, but look at Seattle’s pitching, which is touted to be much better than the Rangers’ staff.
Going into the game, the Rangers weren’t even close to being the worst pitching team in the American League. Now just try and imagine two worse pitching teams. Along with the Detroit Tigers, the Seattle Mariners reside statistically. The Mariners now have a team ERA of 7.38. That’s 1/100ths of a run lower than the Tigers.
Ranger Mike Morgan became the first pitcher other than Aaron Sele to even pitch long enough to qualify for a win. Morgan wasn’t perfect, but pitching in the Mariners’ Pinball Arena, at least he survived, despite giving up 3 home runs in 6.1 innings.
Jeff Zimmerman, just called up to provide relief in the bullpen, pitched superbly. He struck out 4 in 1.1 scoreless innings. He’s a welcome addition to this staff.
I may still complain about bad pitching in future columns, but I have come to realize that the grass is not always greener on the other side, folks. Especially, in this case, when the grass is artificial.