G3: Rangers sweep out Red Sox with 5-1 win on Sunday

Now go ahead and tell me. Which of you Rangers fans thought we were going to sweep the Red Sox – BEFORE any of the series was played? I’d say you were probably lying if that was the case. I admit now that before the first game was played, I thought we were going to go either 1-2 in this series, or 0-3. I wasn’t particularly looking forward to the first three against Boston.
Boy was I wrong!
The Rangers just annihilated Boston’s pitching this whole series, and while five runs isn’t an “annihilation” as such, you felt once this game got started that we had a good vibe going, and five was going to be plenty. Turned out that was definitely the case. The Rangers were apparently running the 1927 Yankees out there against the Red Sox (so says Peter King), and man, did it feel good.
But before I talk about the offense any more, I have to talk about Matt Harrison. When we got him originally from the Braves in the Teixeira trade, I think most fans thought he might be a servicable piece. An “OK” guy, but not the #1 starter type. While I’m not convinced he’s the #1 starter type, I have to say he wowed me on Sunday. A lot was made about Harrison being left off the post season rosters getting on his nerves, and he seems to have fought back. He had a great spring, and much was made about how his attitude is totally different, he’s a completely different guy. Man, did he show all that on Sunday. Just to start with, his line.. 7 innings pitched, a total of 108 pitches. Five hits, one earned run, and two walks, but EIGHT punchouts. His command was great, he was making guys look silly, and he pitched with a determination and desire which definitely shows off the “new attitude” he’s talked about with so much recently. He was running out of gas a bit towards the end of the 7th, and he was left out there. Tom Grieve said on TV that the old Harrison would have been pulled ages ago, but the new incarnation was left out there to finish the job. He got the job done, striking out the final batter he faced (Jacoby Ellsbury). At the moment he did that, there was a great camera shot of Washington in the dugout with Mike Maddux fist pumping and getting excited. I felt the same way. That performance was something to be excited about, and if is any indicator of how Matt will do this series, well, it will go a long way to where we want to be this year. Looking forward to his next start with far more eagerness than I can say I’ve ever looked forward to one of Matt’s starts.
Offensively, Ian Kinsler didn’t break his own record with a third straight game with a leadoff walk (in the first three). But he did get a home run later on, which was half of a record. Why half? Well, it depended on Nelson Cruz. You see, Cruz also had a home run in each of games 1, 2, & 3. That makes the two of them the first ever teammates to lead off the first three games of a season with a home run in all of the games. Three days into the season, and Ian Kinsler has set two records in MLB that had never been done before. Quite impressive. Just hope he doesn’t become homer happy again. Those weren’t the only home runs. David Murphy also got one, which off the bat didn’t look like one. But you know. Jetstream. Mike Napoli also had a home run, his second of the young season. Andres Blanco & Michael Young also had doubles in this game. Lots of extra base power.
The Rangers are just destroying the Red Sox on home runs. In the first three games, the Rangers have hit a total of 11 home runs. {Darth Vader}That’s impressive. Most impressive.{/Darth Vader}
Both Neftali Feliz & Jonathan Papelbon got an inning in at the end of the game. Neither was a save situation, but then again, no team has been in the position to get a save the way these games have gone. :)
I’ve never been this excited about seeing Matt Harrison pitch again than I was after Sunday.
A sweep. I wonder how homer happy we’ll be against Seattle, who comes in here Monday night? We’re likely to get shut down by Felix Hernandez, but then again, I thought Boston was going to shut us down, too. We’ll see. :)