I didn’t take as many pictures during the second game as I did the first, but I did get some. Let’s start with this one.
Pudge screwing up the chalk lines behind the plate before the first pitch is thrown. Something that was really nice to see in a doubleheader. Truth be told, I figured he’d catch one of the games, but it was great to actually SEE it. He DH’ed in the first game, caught the second.
Brandon McCarthy took the mound for Game 2. When this season started I was feeling good about Brandon. I think most Ranger fans were. I called him the key to 2009. We needed him to pitch well if we were going to have a chance. Through May, when he went on the DL again, he was doing pretty good. 5-2 with an ERA in the 4′s. I forget the exact number, but he was decent. Not lighting the world on fire, but doing well enough. Then he went back on the DL, and was there for about three months until yesterday. I don’t know about you, but those three months pretty much sapped out any good feeling I had about him early in the season. So when it was announced he was starting in Game 2, I didn’t feel good about it. Quite frankly, I figured both games would be big losses. Wrong. Brandon went 6.1 innings, giving up three hits, one run, while both striking out and walking two. In fact, when he walked off the mound in the seventh inning, he got a very nice standing ovation.
There wasn’t a ton of action through the first few innings. In fact, no runs scored in the first three and a half innings. Both Brandon McCarthy & Brian Tallet were pretty good about not allowing runs to score. The Rangers had runners in each of the first three innings (Kinsler walk in the 1st, Murphy single in the 2nd, & Kinsler single in the 3rd). None of them scored, although Kinsler did get to third base in the first inning. Likewise, the Jays had a runner in the first (Aaron Hill single) and the second (walk to Kevin Millar), but neither advanced. They were gone 1-2-3 in the third. Hill walked in the fourth, but was wiped out on a double play, which ended up as a 1-2-3 inning, too.
Then we got to the bottom of the fourth inning, and we got this with Josh Hamilton’s at bat..
Josh had deposited a ball over the Rangers bullpen for a solo home run to lead off the fourth. It was majestic to watch, one of those long ones that gives you a chance to admire it as it heads out. That wasn’t all the scoring in that inning. Chris Davis was up, and at that point, Murphy & Pudge were already on base due to a walk and a fielder’s choice. Davis busted ass down the line, and beat a throw on a routine grounder to second. Brian Tallet was late getting to first, which allowed Davis to reach. By this point David Murphy had been on the move, and Tallet at this point made a really wild throw to try and stop Murphy, and it was worse than his failure to cover his base, so it allowed Murphy to score. Was a great moment. The Blue Jays harnessed their inner Bad News Bears in that sequence. Loved it.
We actually ended up loading up the bases again here, but didn’t get anything done further, as Ian Kinsler popped out to second base to end the inning with the bases loaded.
The Rangers plated two more in the fifth. Elvis Andrus led off the inning with a double, and on a 2-2 pitch, Josh Hamilton bloody well rocketed a pitch into the right field stands to the left of the wedgie. It got out in a real big hurry. Was a no doubter. Two home runs for Josh is impressive this year. It’s the first time he’s done that. Coming into this game, he had just nine home runs for the entire season.
I interrupt this game commentary to bring you another picture of Ranger players watching the girls dancing on the dugout. This time it’s Derek Holland & Omar Vizquel.
The Rangers added one more run in the sixth when Chris Davis launched a ball onto Greene’s Hill in center (which looks REALLY far away when sitting in Section 26). Anyway, that gave Davis some nice numbers for the doubleheader.. Chris went 5-8 with one run scored and four RBI. A good night for a guy who looked really lost when he was sent down to AAA.
Darren O’Day came in, gave up the first run (although not totally by his own hand, it was an inherited runner CJ Wilson allowed to score). CJ Wilson himself seemed shaky again. While not nearly as bad as he was in the Metrodome, he went 0.2 innings, allowing the one runner of O’Day’s to score, but gave up no runs of his own.
Frankie came in and threw a perfect inning in the ninth to close it out for his second save of the day. He threw a total of eight pitches in the second game, for a total of 23 pitches and two saves for the day. Not bad work at all. Was really nice to see this twice tonight:
One thing that was NOT good was what happened to end the third inning. I watched Michael Young run down the line to beat out a throw. Nothing special there. Have seen that a ton of times. But when he hit the bag, he did this little hop, which while it didn’t seem overly concerning, did seem slightly out of the ordinary. I didn’t think anything of it because Michael wasn’t grabbing anything, or didn’t need help to get off the field. However, in the top of the fourth, Omar Vizquel moved from short to third, and Elvis Andrus was now playing short. Uh-oh. A couple of innings later, it was announced on the radio (I always listen when I’m in stadium) that he had pulled his left hamstring, and was going for an MRI today (Wed) to check it out. There was no concrete word last night as to what might happen, as folks were just reacting to it, but no matter how you shake it, he’s out for awhile. Will he return at all in 2009? Dunno, but this has to totally kill any chance of getting 200 hits. Obviously, more info is needed from the MRI today, but no matter how you shake it, he’s out. Just two weeks seems unlikely to return from a hamstring problem. Four weeks means he’d come back for the playoffs, assuming we get there. Anything more, forget it, it’s 2010 for him. Gotta feel bad for the dude – he’s stuck it out here for awhile with bad teams, and we finally get a good one, and he gets hurt right before the finish line. Let’s see if he can come back early – but not TOO early, don’t want to hurt himself long term just to play in the playoffs.
Let’s hope we can hold it together without him. Maybe Josh Hamilton getting it right now is what we need to cover this. Chris Davis at third? Omar Vizquel at third? Dunno.
If this weren’t September, he’d be on the DL. I mention that because that will hurt me on my fantasy teams he’s on, since I can’t DL him. There’s no need to DL him for the expanded rosters.
We definitely do not want to be without this picture for too long. I know I don’t.