This was another one of those games that on paper, we had no hope. Jered Weaver against Jamey Wright. Ugh. I expected us to be down 7-1 after three innings or so. But that’s not what happened. Not even close.
As much as I’ve been ragging on Jamey since spring training, I have to give him props. This was a pretty well pitched game I thought. Except for a stretch where he allowed four singles in a row (which accounted for the two runs in the fourth), he was pretty spot on. Even those four singles were all ground balls. He also had three double plays turned on the field, two of which he was involved in himself. Jamey Newberg said he had a hard time watching him this game; I didn’t. He looked good to me. At least for tonight. You can’t argue with his overall line. It was 6 innings, five hits, two earned runs, two walks, and two strikeouts. His pitch count was 76, so I’m a bit surprised he came out after just six innings.
But no matter, our bullpen was lights out. The three relievers we used (Wilson, Benoit, Gagne) all went one inning, and were all perfect. CJ Wilson struck out two of his three batters, Benoit struck out the side, and Gagne didn’t strike out anyone, but only needed six pitches to get the save. I imagine that inning was a small taste of what Los Angeles (the real LA team, not the one we played tonight) was getting when Gagne was in his prime a few years ago. That was exciting.
Jered Weaver went five+ innings, and was just “OK”. Kind of the line I’m used to seeing from Ranger pitchers. Five innings, 7 hits, 3 earned runs, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts. Not awful, certainly not great. Frank Catalanotto and Marlon Byrd both had three hits. Cat was 3-4, and Byrd was 3-3 with a walk. Man, if Byrd is this solid the rest of the season, you would have to think he’d leapfrog Nelson Cruz in the pecking order for the 2008 outfield. Man is he hot. Speaking of hot, recent vintage powerhouse Brad Wilkkkkerson went 1 for 4 tonight with a double off the wall, that looked like a home run off the bat, but didn’t quite get out. He did strike out twice though. No shock there. Overall, we had 11 hits. Two doubles (Byrd, Wilkerson) and nine singles. Gerald Laird had an odd line, going 0-2 with two RBI’s. They were both sac flies.
This is the kind of game you love to see the Rangers win. Well pitched, well played, a great game of baseball. As much as I love 14-2 wins, these 4-2 games where it’s close with great pitching are what it’s all about.
Man, if they only started this way. Now I’m not claiming it can happen, but if we did manage to come back from this enormous deficit and somehow get into the playoffs, Ron Washington would probably win manager of the year. One wonders if that would happen if Buck Showalter might get a small playoff cut – I mean it would be partially due to him being fired, eh? :)