Rich Harden started his second game of the season. It went better than the first one, although it ended up with the same decision. That’s a no decision. Rich was wild again, walking three and giving up five hits in his six innings of work. The tribe scored one in the first and one in the sixth off of him. The first one though was a solo home run off the bat of Shin-Soo Choo. Given that came with nobody on, and most of the rest of the stuff he gave up led to just one run, one could say he did decently, all things considered. Technically it was a quality start, but it didn’t feel like one. Given the way Harden was presented to us, I expect 7 innings, 12 strikeouts, and 4 hits, maybe one run each game he pitches. Granted, the Harden we know before he signed here says we’re not likely to get that, but he is the guy most likely to strike out 15 or something. He did good, although it still felt like a letdown to me.
Dustin Nippert & Darren Oliver pitched the next two frames, and by this point, it was the bottom of the ninth. So Ron Washington brings in Frank Francisco. This is the same day that Washington said this to the press:
Rangers manager Ron Washington said on Monday he’s going to use reliever Frank Francisco in the sixth or seventh inning — preferably in non-pressure situations — while he gets himself together.
Uh, OK. Bringing him in in the bottom of the ninth in a tie game certainly qualifies for THAT. But, he did manage to pitch a perfect inning, although he had a liner to short, and a flyball that went to the warning track. It could have quite easily been worse.
The Indians threw out Fausto Carmona. He’s an enigma, he could be freakin’ fantastic, or he could be all over the place. We saw a bit of both today, but mostly the good pitcher. Carmona went eight innings (111 pitches), allowed five hits, four walks, but just two earned runs. Both coming in the fifth. And one of those was on a wild pitch by Carmona himself (the other was on an RBI single by Michael Young).
Overall, there wasn’t a ton of offense. The Rangers had eight hits. Two by Joaquin Arias, who has had a torrid few games here. Two by Nelson Cruz, who leads the league in everything. The rest were scattered.
The game went to extra innings, our first of the year, and I hate these. Long time readers of my site have heard me rant about how many times the Rangers lose in the 10th inning. Not this time. Josh Hamilton got on board, and Nelson Cruz hit another home run to win the game 4-2 in 10 innings. Neftali Feliz came in, mowed down the Indians in the bottom of the 10th for a save.
I would have preferred Harden get the win, but I’ll obviously take the win.