G148: Matt Harrison dominates A’s, Rangers win 7-0

Nolan Ryan’s recent edict was that pitchers in our entire organization need to pitch longer into games. He must have loved this one. Matt Harrison pitched a complete game shutout. His line was specacular. Nine innings pitched, five hits, four walks, and ZERO runs allowed. The kind of line that would make any team president happy, but one with the pedigree of Nolan’s? Oh yeah, he was loving that. It also was a historic win, too, as Matt Harrison is now a record holder for a lefthand rookie pitcher with eight wins.
Offensively Hank Blalock had another home run, and looked like he had a second (would have been a slam), but it didn’t quite get out. Chris Davis hit a few balls around the yard hard, too. Taylor Teagarden also continued to shine offensively with another home run. Extra base hits were the order of the night, as we had six of them (out of 10 hits). Three doubles (Hamilton, Davis, Laird), one triple (Davis), and two home runs (Blalock, Davis).
But the night belonged to Matt Harrison. Nights like this will go a long way towards 2009. However, one always wonders about these kinds of things. I’ve seen a ton of pitchers have great Septembers, but by the time spring training comes around, they seem to have forgotten all of this. Hopefully it sticks around.

G147: Dustin Nippert and Rangers get win over A’s, 6-1

Dustin Nippert continues to prove me wrong. As I’ve said before, I really was in the “WTF” group of fans when he was brought on board late in spring. He stunk up the joint early, but lately has been quite good. His outing this Thursday won’t win any awards, but you can’t argue with the two most important stats, IMO, those being the win and the runs allowed (one). He was effectively wild, going five innings on 104 pitches, four hits, four walks, and as was said, just one run allowed.
That was the only run the Rangers allowed in all. Our pen shut down the Mariners for four innings, a nice job by Jamey Wright, Bill White, & Frank Francisco. All of them allowed no runs, but no hits either, which was very high on the coolness scale. But what was better was that none of them gave up any walks, either!
Offensively, the Rangers had 14 hits in all. Four doubles, one home run, and nine singles. On the negative side, Joaquin Arias was picked off first by a very nice pickoff move by Dallas Braden. Josh Hamilton was 3-4, Arias & Blalock were 2-5, and all the other hits were scattered. No Rangers batter (starter or sub) was hitless. That’s the kind of thing that’s nice to see.
Nice to get the series win, but I would have preferred the sweep – it is just the Mariners, after all.

G146: Rangers drop game to Mariners, 8-7

The fact that Kevin Millwood lasted five innings in this game was the big surprise. Eleven hits, two walks, seven runs allowed (five earned), 103 pitches. He wasn’t good. Meh.
Offensively, we jacked four home runs, but it was’t enough. Millwood gave up too many. The home runs were by Nelson Cruz, Taylor Teagarden, Hank Blalock, & Chris Davis. Like to see all of those names (especially me who picked up Teagarden as a catcher in a couple of fantasy leagues). Taylor also had a double, but again, it wasn’t enough. Interestingly enough, batting slots 2-3-4 had no hits the whole game, and the leadoff slot had just one.
Kind of interesting to see the Mariners throw out seven pitchers, that’s a lot for one game.

G145: Rangers get to Hernandez & Mariners, 7-3

Felix Hernandez certainly isn’t looking like the great/awesome/whatever pitcher he has been touted the last few times he’s played the Rangers. I don’t have a list of all his games in front of me, but against us, he seems to not do as well. This game was no different. The Rangers got to him for the tune of six earned runs on six hits and four walks. Not very good at all. Certainly not “King like” to me at all.
Hernandez’ downfall was of course due to the Rangers offense, which was led by Marlon Byrd & Taylor Teagarden. Each of them got three hits each (of the total 10 hits we got). Each of them had a double, as did Josh Hamilton. All the other hits we got were singles. Byrd was 3-4 with 3 RBI’s, and Teagarden was 3-5 with 3 RBI’s of his own. These guys were the game for us.
Another notable was Nelson Cruz going 1-3, but with two walks. Has Cruz really figured it out?
We ran a bit, with four steals in the game (Byrd, Hamilton, Young, Arias). Was nice to tweak Hernandez, mostly because his nickname irritates the heck out of me.

G144: Rangers drop finale against Red Sox, 7-2

Well, the luster came off McCarthy’s return, as he was blown out by the Red Sox. 5.1 innings, seven hits, three walks, and six earned runs. Not that I think anyone was expecting Cy Young here, but you got a gut feeling (or I did) that he figured it out and was going to be really awesome every start the rest of the year. Oh well, I guess that’s just me being naive. That’s the vibe you got when he was finally activated to pitch in the majors this year.
Paul Byrd kept the Rangers off the board, going six shutout innings on just three hits and three walks. Not much else to add to that.
Offensively, we had just six hits. One a Teagarden double, the rest all singles. None by Michael Young, either who took an ofer. He still needs 35 hits in 18 games. Not impossible, but unlikely; time appears to be running out on him for another 200 hits in 2008.

G143: Rangers destory Wakefield, bomb Sox 15-8

With a knuckeballer, you usually get shut down totally, or you light him up like several Christmas trees. In this game, we got both from Tim Wakefield. He started the game for the Sox, and through the first inning and two thirds, he was spectacular. Then after getting two outs in the second, not only did the bottom fall out, but the wheels came off too, and any other platitude you’d want to stick in there. He was horrendously bad there. In the last out there, he gave up four hits, four walks, and seven earned runs. The carnage was pretty bad. It set the tone for the game.
In addition to the seven spot in the second, we also had two in the third, one in the fifth, three more in the sixth, and a pair in the bottom of the 8th. There were runs all over the place. Nine of our sixteen hits were of the extra base vareity. I’ll cheat and paste from the box score regarding extra bases…
2B: Laird 2 (21, Wakefield, Timlin), Davis, C (18, Smith, C), Catalanotto (23, Pauley), Cruz (2, Pauley).
3B: Boggs (4, Timlin), Hamilton (5, Timlin).
HR: Cruz 2 (3, 3rd inning off Smith, C, 1 on, 1 out; 5th inning off Timlin, 0 on, 2 out).
Matt Harrison threw for the Rangers, and did well enough. Not stellar, but not great either. Six innings, seven hits, one walk, and four earned runs. “OK”, but not awful.
Was nice to see Nelson Cruz pop a couple of home runs. Makes you wonder if he really has figured it out for real, and will no longer be a AAAA player. If he has, it will make our outfield situation much more interesting next year, as it seems we will have an abundance of qualified candidates for the job next year. I suspect some worthy people will be sitting in AAA for being blocked.