G142: Millwood stumbles, Rangers lose big, 8-1

After the last several outings, we wondered how well Millwood would do against the Red Sox, or at least I did. After three innings, he was down 1-0 on a solo home run to Mike Lowell, who just came off the DL this game. Nice for him to get back in the saddle that fast. However, going into the fourth, Joaquin Arias dropped a ball that was a routine grounder to second, and that opened the floodgates.
The Sox pushed across four runs in the fourth inning. Technically only one was unearned, but the fact that Millwood had to keep going seemed to rattle him – at least to me, this “guy on the couch at home”.
Thing is, we were never really in this game anyway. Josh Beckett started, and like Lowell, was just coming off the DL. He allowed no runs in his five innings of work, striking out seven, and giving up just four walks. The guys who followed him were just as good. Manny Delcarmen pitched two innings, giving up nothing and striking out three. Justin Masterson followed with a scoreless frame (although he walked two). The Rangers finally got to a Sox pitcher, that being Hideki Okajima when he gave up two hits and a walk. That was a Nelson Cruz single which plated German Duran.
Bummer the Rangers lost. While the Sox are probably going to make the playoffs as the wild card, but it would have been nice for the Rangers to sweep the Red Sox and help ’em not make the playoffs. Be nice to have a playoffs without BOTH the Red Sox and Yankees.

G141: Dustin Nippert stellar in 1-0 win over Seattle

When the Rangers aquired Dustin Nippert from the Diamondbacks at the tail end of spring training, most fans (myself included) were thinking WTF. This was not a name that made you think “Hey, let’s bring him in, he’s so much better than what we have”. His April performances were pretty godawful (6ER in 0.2IP in the first, and 8ER in 2.1IP a few appearances later). He was banished after that, not to appear again for awhile. The guy we saw in this game was nothing like the guy we saw earlier in the year. If THIS was the guy the Rangers thought they were trading for, then hell yeah – that was a decent move.
Granted, it’s just one game, but how can you not get excited about this? Seven innings pitched, ZERO runs scored, no walks, and seven hits and 99 pitches. It was quite the performance, and if this version of Dustin Nippert can be harnessed, this is a great pickup, if a bit delayed in results. OK, I’m a bit jazzed about this, but wow, it’s hard not to be. Was a great pitching performance.
The one run was a sac fly by Milton Bradley, his 74th of the season overall. It came in the first inning – and it held up. That’s the surprising thing. We don’t get 1-0 wins at home very often.
The bigger surprise was the lack of fans in the stadium. OK, it was a weekday 1:05 game. I work – I have just about zero chance for coming out for those (except opening day). But the announced attendance was 12,882, and from several local reports, it was way less than that. My thoughts on why so many empty seats have been chronicled a lot, so I won’t go into it here.
Still, 1-0 is exciting, even if hardly anybody witnessed it.

G140: McCarthy bounces back for the win, 6-4

The Rangers offense woke up a bit, getting fifteen hits in all. Two of our starters (Byrd & Davis) had no hits, so the hits were scattered amongst seven guys. Laird, Bradley, & Hamilton had three hits each. There were no home runs, but four doubles and one triple came off Rangers’ bats. Josh Hamilton’s RBI jump seems to be in gear again, getting three of them tonight. He got out to a massively quick rate, but has slowed down a bunch lately. Still leading the majors, but not as many as quickly now.
But the more important bit for me from this game is the line of Brandon McCarthy. After “a chat” with Nolan Ryan about his pitching, McCarthy was activated, and has done well this season in his limited sample. Tonight, he went six innings, giving up just two earned runs on four hits and (more importantly), no walks. Still too many pitches (102 in six), but the overall numbers were pretty good. This is a guy who need to get it together, as we could use one of these trades for pitchers to go right, and not go bad. :(
Still, one would think we should have beaten the Mariners by more than that. We’re not the greatest team around, but the Mariners are horrible. Would have been nice to have a 18-4 game again.
Young 200 hit watch: one hit

G139: Beltre cycle leads M’s to bombing of Texas, 12-6

This game irritated me. We put up a five spot in the bottom of the fifth inning. It was all for naught, because after that, the Rangers did not score any more, but the Mariners did. Eight more times!
It’s hard to win when your pitching staff gives up 20 hits. We got to the Mariners’ starter (Carlos Silva) pretty well (4.2 IP, 10H, 4BB, 6ER). You had a good feeling with all of that. Didn’t stick up, though. Bummer.
The best moment of the game though was the three run home run by Taylor Teagarden, who just arrived as a September callup. He wasn’t even supposed to play in the game, but got in, and jacked a three run shot with his parents in Tom Hicks’ box down front. Showing off Teagarden’s medal from the Olympics, it was a great moment. But that was it. Game stunk after that.

G138: Rangers turn tables, squeak by Angels, 4-3

The Rangers got out early with some power. Josh Hamilton finally got his 30th home run of the season in the first inning, giving the Rangers a 1-0 lead. In the second inning Marlon Byrd jacked a two run shot, putting us up 3-0. We never looked back. OK, we did, because it’s the Angels, but we never lost the lead.
Kevin Millwood allowed two runs in the bottom of the second inning, but that was it for him. Kevin had another great outing, going 6.2 innings, allowing just the two runs on five hits, and no walks. Kevin also struck out seven in this game. It wasn’t a complete game, but he’s pitching as good as he ever has in a Rangers uniform.
Anyone else notice that Mike Scocscia (sp?) seems to be a manager who is constantly “confused” and seemingly gets mad if someone breathes the wrong way? You know – whenever something doesn’t go the Angels way, Soocscia has that constipated look on his face in the dugout? Happens all the time.
Offensively, the Rangers had the two home runs, and also had three doubles. The other five hits were singles.
Young 200 hit watch: one hit.

G137: Angels squeak by Rangers, win 4-3

Scott Feldman continues to prove that he’s someone who probably deserves a serious look in 2009, and should be considered before some other (external) options. His game tonight was not one of his best, but at a point of his season where he is past a place where he was supposed to have been shut down (or moved to the pen), he continues to pitch fairly well. And that wasn’t a runon sentence. He went six innings this night, gave up four earned runs on eight hits and one walk. The power wasn’t there for the Angels, they had just two extra base hits this game, both doubles. But it was enough.
Jered Weaver pitched for the Angels, and pitched into the sixth, but left after the first two batters. He was let down by his reliever Jose Arredondo, who allowed two inherited runners to score, accounting for two of the three earned runs on Weaver’s card.
Offensively, the Rangers managed just seven hits the whole game. Six of them were singles, and one was a double (Blalock).
Michael Young 200 watch: One hit.

G136: Rangers lose low scoring affair to Angels, 3-1

Scores like 3-1 mean somebody pitched well. That’s what happened here. Anaheim’s starter was Ervin Santana, and he eight eight strong innings. He allowed just five hits and one walk. Just one run, too. It’s hard to top that.
Dustin Nippert made the start in place of Vicente Padilla, and was “OK”. Not bad, and not great. His overall line was 5.1 innings, with five hits and three earned runs. Thing is, most of that happend right at the end. He was great through five, keeping the Angels off the board totally. He just ran out of gas in the sixth, and the Angels got to him.
Still, 3-1 isn’t the worst score you could lose by. Yeah, a loss is a loss, but 3-1 is less disheartening as say 17-3 would be.

G135: Bullpen blows it in 7-5 loss to Angels

The Rangers got off to a great start, a 4-0 lead to open the first inning in support of Brandon McCarthy. Unfortunately, that was our best moment offensively. We did pick up a single run in the fourth, but that was it for our offense.
We held the lead for quite awhile. Brandon McCarthy looked good again, and one HOPES that he has figured it out. HOPES being the key word there. Brandon threw 6 innings in all, giving up just one earned run (one unearned, too). Just one walk, and six hits. Not too shabby.
Thing is, our bullpen (mostly Jamey Wright) gave up a big ol’ ugly five spot in the bottom of the 8th, which of course brought on Frankie Rodriguez. Bleh. We did look really good for most of the game, holding the Angels in check, and being powered by home runs from Milton Bradley & Crush Davis, but the bottom of the 8th kind of wiped out that good feeling.

G134: Rangers sweep Royals (!) with 3-2 win

HOLY CRAP! It’s a game played on August 27th, and it’s the first time all season I’ve been able to use that graphic. I’ve been using it on my site for years, but for the first time in 2008, it gets broken out. That’s kind of sad, actually.
This was the second straight game with a pitcher’s duel. Yesterday it was Millwood & Greinke. This game it was Matt Harrison & Brian Bannister. Harrison pitched into the 8th inning, and gave up two runs (just one earned). Bannister went into the 7th, and gave up three runs (two earned). Both pitched well. KC was done in again by an unearned run, which proved to be the difference maker.
This game was almost all Brandon Boggs (2-4, HR), Chris Davis (2-4, 2B), & Jarrod Saltamacchia (3-4, 2 2B). These guys had all our hits, except two.
The more amazing thing was a sweep – in Kansas City!

G133: Millwood beats Greinke 2-1 in KC pitchers’ duel

Even if I wasn’t writing short entries for this week, there wouldn’t be a ton to talk about with this one. It was the Kevin Millwood show. He dominated KC, giving up just one run in his 94 pitch complete game win. That makes two straight complete games for a Rangers pitcher – when the heck was the last time THAT happened?
Funny thing is that Zack Greinke pitched better than Millwood did because he allowed no earned runs. Neither did any other Royals’ pitcher. The two runs the Rangers got were both unearned.
You feel bad for a pitcher when they give up no earned runs, and still lose the game. But not enough to not feel glad about the performance Millwood gave. Was spectacular. There’s been some talk he might be traded to Boston before Sep 1, but I can’t see that happening. If he stays, one gets the feeling we wouldn’t see this Millwood in April, unfortunately. :(