G132: Rangers and Nelson Cruz beat KC, 9-4

Short commentary, I’m in catch up mode after a week of not doing updates..
The Rangers hit Kansas City, a town that despite how bad the Royals have been, it’s a town where the Rangers have issues winning. This time, however was different. Nelson Cruz finally made it to the majors this year, and continued his torrid pace in the minors this year. Cruz went 3-5 with three RBI’s, missing just the triple for the cycle. Was definitely his night.
Actually, given how many hits we had (19) you would have thought we would have scored more than nine runs. 19 hits usually means double digits in runs. Oh well, I’ll take the win, since we usually don’t get a ton of them in KC.
Scott Feldman got the win, going seven innings, giving up eight hits, but no walks. Two earned runs (three overall). Good win.

G129: Texas opens Indians series with 7-5 loss

I did not see or hear any of this game. I was down at the Starplex watching Black Sabbath play (they currently go by the name Heaven & Hell, they’re with Dio again). Due to this, I’ll skip all commentary on the game, as I need to recover from the concert. :) I don’t know if you know, but I do Black Sabbath’s website too – you can see it here: http://www.black-sabbath.com. Doing that affords me the luxury of doing things like watching the gig from on stage. Here was my vantage point. :)

So yeah, I missed Hank Blalock’s debut at first base. I was busy backstage with the band after the show, so by the time I finally got back home, I was in no shape to start watching a Texas Rangers game. :)

G128: Rangers power and pitching lead to 9-1 win over Tigers

This game has two big things which would sum it up.
First was the pitching performance by Kevin Millwood. Kevin got a complete game victory, something rare in baseball these days. He looked good, scattering six hits over his nine innings. Only helped out the Tigers once (his lone walk), and struck out four. No Tiger had more than one hit, although four of the six hits were extra base jobs. I was there in person, and the performance by Millwood just seemed to blend into the background. I was’t overwhelmed, nor was I bored. Of course, I was there with some friends, so my talking might have gotten in the way of my baseball perceptions.
However, the big story was the power. We had six home runs total. Only one of them was not a solo shot. That was Travis Metcalf’s home run in the second – there was one runner for that one. However, we had five more solo shots, including two different back to back shots. The six home runs were by Travis Metcalf (two), Brandon Boggs, Michael Young, Josh Hamilton, & Milton Bradley. Nice fun night to be there, and actually is the first home game win I’ve been to this year.
A few other random notes..
The Rangers six shooters make me feel old. They sat down next to me at one point waiting for the time to go dance on the dugout. Wow, I’m probably double the age of every one of them. That was helped by the fact that I thought I was old enough to be all of their fathers from the looks of it. Plus I turned 43 today, which made it even more “fun”.
The smoke from a Josh Hamilton home run hovered over the home plate area for quite awhile. Normally fireworks smoke blows away, but this one came to home plate, and just hovered there. I had major flashbacks to the original Star Trek episode Obsession where Capt Kirk is hell bent on destroying a cloud that was going around killing people.
The crowd wasn’t terribly large, but it didn’t seem to go anywhere, either. Guess six home runs will do that. :)
Driving out, I wasn’t sure if the game was even going to be played. Came out from Garland where it was nice and sunny. Once I got past the big post office just west of Dallas, I ran into a major rain storm in Grand Prairie. It was nuts, I couldn’t see two cars in front of me. Got to the ballpark, and it was nice and blue skies again. I know Texas weather can do things like that, but it was like three different types of weather.
Nice to have the Rangers back in town on August 20th. Since I was a little kid, I’ve had this tradition about going to a baseball game on my birthday. When they’re not in town, I pick the next closest calendar date. But August 20th has been out of town for many years now.

G127: Texas drops to 3 games under .500 with 11-3 loss

Vicente Padilla started this game, and for the first six innings, looked like the good Padilla we’ve seen for the majority of 2008. Then the seventh inning showed up, which was the same place the Rangers fell apart last night, too.
Vicente Padilla & Warner Madrigal gave up a big time stinky pile of… in the seventh. The Tigers scored nine times. Was one of those stupid ugly moments, so I’ll post the play by play..

Tigers 7th (Tigers 10, Rangers 3) — C. Guillen walks. G. Sheffield singles to shallow center field, C. Guillen to 3rd. M. Joyce hits a home run to right field on a 1-2 pitch, C. Guillen scores; G. Sheffield scores. E. Renteria hits a home run to right-center field on a 2-1 pitch. Pitcher Change: W. Madrigal replaces V. Padilla. B. Inge strikes out swinging. C. Granderson walks. R. Santiago singles to center field, C. Granderson to 3rd. M. Ordonez singles to left field, C. Granderson scores; R. Santiago to 3rd. M. Cabrera grounds into a force out, M. Young to J. Arias, R. Santiago scores; M. Ordonez out at 2nd. C. Guillen singles to center field, M. Cabrera to 3rd. G. Sheffield walks, C. Guillen to 2nd. M. Joyce reaches on fielding error by J. Hamilton, M. Cabrera scores; C. Guillen scores; G. Sheffield scores; M. Joyce to 2nd. Pitcher Change: J. Rupe replaces W. Madrigal. E. Renteria lines out to J. Hamilton. (9 Runs, 6 Hits, 1 Errors, 1 LOB)

The only real good moment of the game was a three run home run by Chris Davis, who accounted for all the Rangers offense with that swing of the bat. We ran into our old (brief) friend Armando Galarraga. Take away Davis’ home run, and Armando gave up no other runs, just those three, and looked pretty darned good.
I missed most of this game, fortunately I did not see the carnage in the 7th, but I did see Davis’ home run.
Again. Meh.

G126: Rangers lose opening game to Detroit, 8-7

The Rangers had 12 hits in all. Six of them were doubles. That’s one of the few completely consistent stats we have this year. We’re leading the universe in doubles. Wasn’t enough.
Scott Feldman started, and technically thew a quality start (6IP, 5H, 3ER, 4BB), but it didn’t feel like it. At least I don’t remember it going that way as I write about the game three days later. Scott only had 94 pitches when he was taken out, but was apparently out of gas. His line shows six innings pitched, but he did give up three earned runs. Those were all in the seventh. That was the start of a couple of ugly innings, as the Rangers game up four spots in two consecutive innings. The second four were all unearned on the card of Jamey Wright. Those were due to a big ol’ ugly error by Travis Metcalf leading to four unearned runs.
Offensively, there were the aforementioned six doubles, and the other six hits were all singles. The four we got in the bottom of the eighth was a morale booster, but the game just find of felt “gone” after we went down 8-3 in the top of the eighth.

G124: Rangers break losing streak behind 3-0 Harrison gem

First off, I didn’t see any of this game, so I can’t tell you how Matt Harrison’s pitches were looking. Didn’t listen, either. I was out at a Grand Prairie AirHogs game. Was the first one of those I attended. Was a nice little place, but given that I didn’t get home till about 11PM, I wasn’t about to START watching the Rangers game, so I just checked out the score.
What’s funny is on the ride out to the AirHogs game, I was discussing the Rangers pitching staff with the other guys in the car. I found myself preaching the line of “Well, you can’t just throw any old kid out thre and expect them to go 13-4 with a 3.16 ERA. They’re going to have 3-4 outings where their ERA is 18+, then one absolute gem. We got one of the gems tonight from Matt Harrison. Eight innings, three hits, NO WALKS, and eight strikeouts. Was a very spectacular outing. Which was needed, because our offense wasn’t terribly special, although we led from the first pitch of the game, a big home run ball by Ian Kinsler.
Random note. If Michael Young wants another 200 hit season, he has to go on a tear. He needs 55 hits in the 38 remaining games. Not impossible mind you, but he needs more 3-4 games than 1-4’s the way out. A lot of them.
To wrap it up.. Tom Hicks could learn a lesson from the AirHogs. FREE PARKING!

G123: Rangers look sad in 7-0 loss, drop below .500 again

After our playoff hopes effectively died in Boston, we limped home, hoping that Kevin Millwood’s return from the DL would make a change, coupled with being at home.
They were just as bad as they were on the road. Well… It’s not totally our fault. Matt Garza pitched a whale of a game. A complete game, 119 pitch, two hit shutout of Texas. It probably should have been just one hit, there was a play by the centerfielder that I thought should have been an error. At the minimum it was a rather rough call for the official scorer. Yeah, we have a few guys who can hit, but anyone knows you can be totally shut down by a pitching performance like that.
This makes two consecutive games we were shut out. 7-0 this game, and 10-0 in Boston. To add extra flavor that thought, the last home game before this one was a 3-0 loss to the Yankees, as well. :(
It feels like April again.