G131: Rangers beat Jays 5-2 in first game of DH

I love doubleheaders. Always have since I was a kid. And I’m not talking about those fake “split” doubleheaders where they clear the place out between games. I mean real honest to goodness two for the price of one doubleheaders. I try and go to every one I possibly can. There was one earlier in the season, and it came the day after my son was born, so I think I would have been put into the hospital myself if I tried going. So I was looking forward to today for awhile. Got in the car and headed to Freebirds for a fillup before heading to the park. Given I’m still unemployed (sigh), I have to conserve money where I can. Then I drove to the game from there, which worked out, as I didn’t spend any money on food at the Ballpark. One tip they don’t publicize a lot. They have this “designated driver” program, where you sign up saying you won’t drink any beers or whatnot at the game. You are put into a drawing for a Rangers jacket each game, and they give you a coupon for a free soda. That’s the only thing I got from the concession stands the whole doubleheader. Filling up at Freebirds beforehand will do that. :)
Anyway, I got to the park, and my tickets were at Will Call, so I had no idea where they were going to be. Opened the envelope, and got a surprise. I had seriously awesome seats for the game. I mean, check this out – this is where I was sitting!

I have to confess I wasn’t particularly looking forward to the pitching matchups. Dustin Nippert and Brandon McCarthy starting for Texas. I’ll talk about McCarthy in game 2’s remarks, but I have to say I wasn’t thrilled at seeing Nippert. He’s done decently overall, but my gut feeling said he was going to be torched. Perhaps it was fallout from the 18 runs last night – who knows. I wasn’t thrilled.
The game got off quickly, however. Ian Kinsler popped a home run in the bottom of the first inning. It felt good, and it seemed like the ball clanged around in a sea of empty seats out there in left. I know the start of doubleheaders are always not terribly populated, but it seemed more empty than usual out there. That home run though was pretty much it for power. There was one Pudge double later in the game, but everything else was a single. Not much in the way of extra base hits in this game.
Speaking of Pudge, I was rather excited to see him in person as a Ranger again for the first time in ages. Pudge DH’ed in Game 1, and it was VERY cool to hear Chuck Morgan announce him again. As much as I feel this will be just for 2009, it would be very nice to see Pudge stay on past this season. It just “feels” good for a Rangers fan. Below are some pictures of Pudge in action during game 1. Just because it “feels” good. :)

Anyway, it wasn’t all about Pudge. Dustin Nippert had a decent line, but sitting there witnessing his pitching, he wasn’t dominating. His line was good, though. Six innings, five hits, two runs, one walk, four strikeouts. Dustin left the game with 99 pitches thrown, and at the time a 3-2 lead.
I have to confess, he did better than I thought he was going to. So good for him. Bad for me. I am confused about one thing. Several reports of the game online refer to the run scored in the fourth by the Jays as unearned, yet all the box scores list it as earned. Anyone reading this have a clarification?

However, after Nippert came out of the game, in came Neftali Feliz. It was cool to see the fans take to him the way they have. He got a huge round of applause, and when he was on the mound? Holy crap! He struck out the side in the seventh inning. He also threw 12 pitches, only one was a ball. It was sensational. He came back in the eighth, and while he threw a few more balls than one (six), he was equally as sensational. In all, Feliz threw two perfect innings. 27 pitches, 20 for strikes. Struck out four of the six guys he faced. Wow. Thank you – thank you, THANK YOU John Schuerholz!

One other nice thing to see was Chris Davis go 3-4. All three were pulled singles to right, but the third one scored the two runs we plated in the bottom of the seventh. It probably should have been an error, put I’m sure Chris will take the third hit, and a couple of RBI’s.
Speaking of errors, Marco Scutaro made two of them this game. Which, if I remember right was rather odd, as the radio guys said he had only made four all season previously to that. There was another charged error in the game to Toronto (a fielding error by McDonald), but there should have been four.
Frank Francisco came in and threw just 15 pitches for the save. He allowed one hit, but that was it.
It was hard to get the name Rzepczynski into my iPod Touch when I scored the game. My pod kept trying to correct the spelling, and even then I had to check what I was typing a couple of times. That was one of the harder entries in scoring I’ve had to do ever. :)
One final remark. It appears that the Ranger players, and Pudge in particular like watching the Rangers six shooter girls dance on top of the dugout. Check out these two pics. :)