After the first start by Dempster, I was hoping it was a case of “new team” jitters. Turns out that might have been the case, because Ryan was much better in his second start than he was in his first start. MUCH better. In fact, Dempster (and Jon Lester) were having pitcher’s duel, with no runs allowed until the sixth inning. The official mlb recap’s headline was “Dempster dives into win column in Rangers uni”. Dumpster diving pun aside, it was a beautiful outing. Ryan came here with the likelihood of being a rental between now and the end of the season, but if there’s more of this kind of outing, I’ll want to keep him around. Heck, he picked off Carl Crawford at second. :)
Ryan’s outing went like this: 6.2 IP, 6H, 1BB, 6K, 3R, but 0ER. All of the runs he gave up, and all the runs the Sox got followed an error by Ian Kinsler. That was Ian’s 14th error of the season. Bit high, but not outrageously so. Still, it’s good that Dempster’s ERA this game was zero. :) That’s always good to see.
Lester on the other hand, wasn’t as good. Also 6.2 IP, and 6H as well, but he allowed four runs – all earned. The rest of the Sox pen also allowed runs, except for the last guy (Tazawa). Melancon & Breslow each allowed a run in their turn on the scorecard ledger. Breslow’s was worse, as he only pitched 0.1 of an inning.
The flip side of that is that the Rangers pen did do well. Ross, Adams, & Nathan (back for a save) combined for 2.1IP of shutout ball. Adams in particular was good, he struck out the side (around a single). In fact, the Rangers staff combined for 10 strikeouts, always a good number to see. Dempster had 6, Adams 3, and Nathan 1. The combined pitching line was: 9IP, 8H, 3R, 0ER, 1BB, 10K, 127P. Good outing for the Rangers pitching staff.
The bats made a bit of noise, but not until late. As I said earlier, the first runs were in the sixth, when Ian Kinsler singled in David Murphy who had doubled. Josh Hamilton later that inning singled in Kinsler. We scored another pair in the seventh when Murphy sac flied in Michael Young. The other game when Kinsler singled in Soto. We also added single runs in the 8th & 9th, again, on singles. Singles was the story of this one. Of the 10 hits, only one wasn’t a single; a double by Murphy.
Speaking of Geovany Soto, he’s caught a lot since coming over. I know leading up to that trade, that Napoli had caught a lot, so it’s probably twofold that Soto has had a heavy workload so far. First to give Napoli some rest. Second, to help him with the pitching staff. I know a good catcher can catch anyone in a pinch, but to “know” the team requires more time. Given Soto was acquired for the run leading to the playoffs, the more time he has, the better. He’s batting .222 with the Rangers since coming over, which is actually higher than the .199 he had with the Cubs. His batting averages haven’t always been THAT stellar, despite his draft pedigree. His first full year (2008), he batted .285 (respectable), then it dropped way down to .218 in 2009. 2010 showed a rebound to .280, and then 2011 was .228. By that pattern, he should be in the .280′s again, but he’s not. Not sure which is the right one, to be honest. A small piece of factoid to throw out there. For the last couple of seasons, his hitting coach in Chicago has been Rudy Jaramillo, so I’m not sure what to make of that. Still, he seems OK, just wish he could hit a bit more.
We seem to be back on the right track again after some stumbles. Hopefully it stays like this going into September, and we don’t have to worry about anything else when it comes time for the last trading deadline on Aug 31.