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G88: Rangers take middle game in Baltimore series, 5-3

German Duran, a guy who has been here for awhile, but seemingly gets overlooked when you think of the current roster makeup lead the team yesterday to a 5-3 win. Duran, batting ninth went 3-3 with two doubles and two runs scored. He wasn’t the only one with multiple hits. Michael Young went 3-5, and Ian Kinsler who continues his assult on just about everything went 2-3 with a walk, as well as two runs scored and two RBI’s. I guess if you look just at the numbers, Kinsler “led the offense”, but Duran’s 3-3 struck me as more impressive for some reason. Can’t tell you why, that’s a “gut feeling”, but perhaps it’s from a guy who may be considered “the 25th man”.
Kinsler did jack another home run, and is turning out to be the player he was lauded to be when he was coming up. He was not slated to start the All-Star game, but he really should be. Stupid Boston media bias. Pedroia is a fine player, but he’s not comparing this year to what Kinsler is doing.
Pitching wise, Scott Feldman got a start. He wasn’t supposed to start, but got the call at the last minute. Pitched OK. Technically a quality start, but barely. Six innings pitched, three earned runs, four walks though (too many). He was OK enough to get the win. He deserves that, considering how many he pitched well enough to win he got no run support. The pen was great, not allowing any runs.
Baltimore isn’t even drawing 20,000 on a Saturday game. Man have their fortunes fallen. They were a 40k+ per night draw for a long time. Shall we blame it on the owner? :)

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G87: Padilla looks bad, Rangers lose to Orioles, 10-4

Well, after the game I went to against the Phillies when Padilla looked fairly pedestrian, I thought “OK, he’s been pretty decent, he’ll bounce back against Baltimore”. WRONG.
Vicente Padilla looked like the 2007 edition of himself, even evoking bad memories of Chan Ho Park & Mark Clark. He gave up a run in the first. OK, no big deal, just one run. He looked wobbly in the first inning, but this version of Padilla has been good with dealing with that. Not this game. In the second inning he gave up three runs, then four more in the third. They were all earned, too. Couldn’t pin the numbers on a bad play behind him – Pidente threw up eight earned runs on the scoreboard; not surviving the third inning. It was pretty darned ugly. I think the most telling stat is that he didn’t strike out anyone. While he’s not going to lead the league in strikeouts, he does get his fair share, and to strike out zero is a pretty much the telling sign. The Rangers pen did put up four innings of zeroes before Josh Rupe gave up two more runs in the 8th. But the damage was done, we were never really in this game.
That despite an actual first inning lead when Bradley doubled in a run. In fact, that double was our only extra base hit. We had eight more hits – all singles. Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie did allow two walks, but our bats were pretty much shut down. In fact, Milton Bradley pretty much was the offense. He was 2-4 with three RBI’s.
This game pretty much boiled down to Vicente Padilla was never in this game, so neither was the rest of the team. When you give up 28 runs total in two consecutive games, you pretty much aren’t going to be in either of those games.

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G86: Rangers beat Ponson, but not Yanks – lose big 18-7

Per my policy, I don’t write about Rangers losses to the Yankees.
Although I will say it was somewhat gratifying to beat Ponson, even if we didn’t beat the Yankees.

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G85: Rangers beat Mariano Rivera & Yanks, 3-2

The Rangers had been godawful in Yankee Stadium the last few years. Oh, we’d get a win here and there to show we had a small pulse, but we’ve been effectively target practice for the Yankees. Not this year. After last night’s extremely well pitched game, we get another – and our second win in a row in Yankee stadium in as long as I can remember.
Kevin Millwood went for the Rangers, and had a pretty good outing. Went five innings, giving up five hits and a walk for one earned run. Struck out six. Funny thing is after just 84 pitches, he was out after five. I admit I passed out on the sofa for a bit there, so it’s possible there was an explanation and I missed it.
Josh Rupe followed and ended up with a blown save, as he gave up the tying run; his only in two innings. Frank Francisco followed with a scoreless frame. CJ Wilson closed it out, and after getting a double play, seemed absolutely fired up – got the final out on three pitches. Two strikes at 95+ on the radar gun, and the third was a ground out that shattered the bat. Was a great ending to this.
Offensively the Rangers had just nine hits. Six of them were by Kinsler, Young, & Bradley who had two each. But the big thing was Ian Kinsler, who ran us into this win. In the ninth inning, Ian got on, then stole second, and then stole third, and scored on a single in the top of the ninth. It was quite impressive to get the win against Rivera.
As a Ranger fan, you feel positively giddy about the lofty perch of three games over .500 – and to do it against Rivera and the Yankees made it a whole lot better. Dare we think sweep on Wednesday?

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G84: Rangers outpitch Yankees, win game 2-1

A lot was made about the fact that Arod tied Jimmie Foxx for 14th on the all time home run list at 534. But what I found far more amazing was the fact that Jason Giambi got a triple in this game! If ever there was a time to use Chris Berman’s NFL quote of “Rumblin, Bumblin, Stumblin…”, that was it. Speaking of Giambi, when did the Yankees allow facial hair again? I thought that was verboten with them. As long as I’m at it, Giambi’s ‘stache looked sillier than the promo pictures for Ramon Vazquez & Frank Catalanotto for 2008. :)
The Yankees only got four hits total this game. That’s the story of this one. The Yankees’ offense was shut down. Of the four hits, it was for the cycle, amusingly enough. There was a single by Benji Molina, a double by Jorge Posada, the triple by Jason Giambi, and a home run by Arod. Arod’s home run was pretty titanic, it cleared Monument Park – quite a shot. That was Feldman’s only mistake of the night, but to a guy who should be the eventual home run king is nothing to feel too bad about.
The Rangers didn’t exactly tear it up offensively, either. They had just seven hits, and Michael Young had three of those. Two of Young’s three hits were doubles. In fact, four of our seven hits were doubles. Our first run scored on a Josh Hamilton single to right, which scored Ian Kinsler. That gave Josh his 80th RBI of the season. Our second run, and the winning run was plated by Chris Davis, the second game in a row where he did that. Davis’ RBI was on a double to deep right field.
Nice caught stealing by Saltamacchia, throwing from his knees. His defense has looked better since Laird got hurt. If Salty keeps improving, one might think Laird would have a bit of deja-vu. That would be the second time he could conceivably lose his starting job when someone else came in and played great while he was on the DL.
Bit of bad news for Eddie Guardado. He had to leave the game after not throwing a pitch at all. He appeared to get hurt during his warmup tosses in the eighth inning.
It was nice to see Scott Feldman get a win – he should have many more. We continue to not score runs for him, but this time at least we managed to keep the other team off the board.
We finally got to two games over .500. Seems like such a “lofty goal” that we reached, even if it is just two games over .500 – know what I mean?
Anyone else want to see Chris Davis stay at first base for good, and pretty much be done with Catalanotto, and forget about this idea of Blalock being a first baseman? I don’t think Hank is back in 2009 anyway.

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G83: Rangers beat Moyer & Phillies, 5-1

Chris Davis came to the majors with quite a fanfare. Well, at least from those of us who have a knowledge of the Rangers’ minor league system. On Sunday, he delivered what turned out to be the winning run. Davis hit a home run in the second inning, which gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead at that time.
That was the only run of the second inning, and we had just a lone run in the two frames surrounding it, too. The first inning was a leadoff triple by Ian Kinsler who was grounded home by Michael Young. The third inning run was a Michael Young double, who was brought home by a Josh Hamilton single. That was actually it for awhile. The Rangers didn’t score again until the bottom of the eighth, when they plated two on an RBI single by Ramon Vazquez, and a fielder’s choice by Michael Young.
The Rangers were up against former Ranger pitcher Jamie Moyer, who is still chugging along quite nicely at 45. He’s one of the few players left in MLB older than me, so I notice that. :) Moyer’s line wasn’t that bad – 5.2 IP, 7H, 4BB, 3ER. Well, the walks weren’t good, but 3ER in just about six innings isn’t horrendous.
Problem for Philly was that Eric Hurley was good. He gave up just one earned run in his 5.2 innings of work. This was enough to get his first major league win. Our pen followed up with 3.1 innings of scoreless relief to give the Rangers a series win, and take them back over .500 again.

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G82: Rangers lose tight one to Phillies, 8-6

This was the pitching duel I wanted to see. Vicente Padilla vs Cole Hamels. Both are pitching pretty good this season. Funny thing is, it’s not what we got. Hamels was better than Padilla was, but wasn’t outstanding himself.
Cole Hamels went seven innings, giving up six hits and two walks. This for a total of four runs, although he did strike out eight. Hamels was more streaky, as he gave up two runs in the first, then nothing for awhile, and the other two in the fifth. He seemed to dominate better than Padilla did (or did not as the case may be).
Vicente Padilla gave up more. In his six innings, he gave up seven hits and three walks. Seven earned runs. He wasn’t helped by the long ball – two of which he gave up. Both home runs were from guys you’d expect that from. Chase Utley & Ryan Howard. But Padilla was not the same guy who we’ve seen this year. Whether it was facing his former club, or the heat, or he was just “off” tonight, it wasn’t the real good Padilla we’ve been seeing in 2008.
Offensively, Michael Young did something he hasn’t done a ton of the last two seasons, hit a home run. He had a two run shot in the first inning, which was his seventh of the season. Kinsler & Young definitely had their sticks going – both went 3-5 this game. The rest of the offense was scattered amongst the lineup – Kinsler/Young were by far the standouts.
We did make some noise late when we tried to catch up – we scored a few in the bottom of the 8th against Chad Durbin, but couldn’t tie it up there. In the bottom of the ninth, the Phils brought on their closer Brad Lidge, who has returned to the lights out closer he used to be in his early days in Houston. Even then, we got a couple guys on, which brought up both Josh Hamilton & Milton Bradley. Both had the chance to win the game with a walk off home run – which I think everyone was hoping for. Didn’t happen. Lidge struck them both out.
Great defensive moment when Jimmy Rollins was gunned out at home plate trying to get an inside the park home run. Watching the play develop, I thought it was a no doubter, but then the throw came in better than I thought, and Rollins was nabbed on the hand – had he slid in with his hands down, he would have scored, actually.
This was a really good game. I was there, didn’t care for the rain, but the game itself was a good one – while the Rangers only led briefly in the bottom of the first, it had that “back and forth” feel to it. Enjoyed this one.
It rained almost the whole game. Started in like the second inning, and had various degrees of intensity through the rest of the game, but it never stopped. Praise be to God that it stopped when the game was over, so we didn’t get soaked going to the car, and more importantly that nobody had to deal with the rain in the crush of cars leaving the park.
Also, a random comment. If you’re going to take your kids to the game and teach them about baseball, that’s great. Don’t also teach them things like “Hey, dumbass – that wasn’t a strike!” There was a moron sitting behind my brother and I who was doing that. Loved he was teaching his kids the game. Didn’t love he was teaching his kids the ugly side of being a fan, too. Do you really want your kids growing up like Craig Bueno? Come on, don’t do stupid stuff like that.

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G81: Rangers win battle of bad starters against Phillies 8-7

Well, my brother flew in from Philadelphia to go to this game (and the other two as well). So we headed out, picked up our tickets from will call, and hit our seats, which were right behind first base. Got to see the tail end of Phillies batting practice, and watched all the pregame stuff. It was a weird feeling for me, both seeing my hometown Phillies at Rangers ballpark, and also having my brother with me at the game.
Anyway, both starting pitchers (Kason Gabbard & Brett Myers) pretty much stunk up the joint. Ian Kinsler got it started early with a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the first. That wasn’t so bad, really. The score was 1-0 going into the third inning. Then it seriously bogged down. The Phillies scored five runs in the top of the third – the big shot there was a grand slam by Pedro Feliz. The Rangers had walked Pat Burrell intentionally to load up the bases and get to Ryan Howard. On the surface that would seem like suicide, but Howard’s only batting about .210 at the moment. He struck out. But then Feliz hit a slam over the wall in left, giving the Phillies a 5-1 lead. Gabbard actually survived that inning into the fourth, but not much longer than that (only one more out).
The bottom of the third inning was started by Brett Myers, but he never got anyone out, and was pulled after several batters reached. It continued with Clay Condry, Philly’s long man, who gave up the first major league home run to Chris Davis, who it it the other way over the left field wall. That was pretty cool to see in person.
In all there were six longballs in the game, three by each team. Milton Bradley had one that hit the right field foul pole. There was the aforementioned ones by Chris Davis and Ian Kinsler. The Phillies had three too, one being the Feliz grand slam. Chris Coste had one in the fourth, and Jason Werth had one off of CJ Wilson to start off the ninth inning – not what you want to see when you closer comes in.
Still, the Rangers managed to hang on and win the game, getting yet again one game over .500. They try tomorrow to get two games over, which has been a major problem all season. It will be a great pitching matchup – Cole Hamels against Vicente Padilla. That’s the pitching matchup I was looking forward to the most this weekend. Hope it lives up to the billing.
One other thing was bats tonight. There were three bats that flew into the stands, including the third one which was a broken bat off the hands of Josh Hamilton. That bat hit a woman about 10-15 rows in front of me or so. She ended up leaving the game with a VERY obvious limp – she was hurting. Was funny, as soon as they started flying, or any bat broke in the field, you heard a ton of people around me shouting “MAPLE!” – not sure what the means, but the world maple is starting to be synonymous for “broken bat”.
Here is a sideshow of pictures I took at the game tonight (including several of Chris Davis). If you want to see larger versions of the pictures, you can reach the photo gallery here.

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G80: Rangers fall behind early, lose game 7-2

Friday’s game is the halfway point of the season. We head into that game at (wait for it) .500 again, after having dropped the finale of the series to Houston, 7-2. We fell behind bigtime very early, and were never ever in this game.
Millwood gave up a three run triple in the first inning up onto the giant hill of grass in center field, and then in the second inning surrendered four more runs. Kevin was just a mess. He actually threw five innings total, but his first two were so bad, it gave him a line that was bad even if you factor in the three scoreless innings he did pitch. All told, Kevin gave up twelve hits and three walks for seven earned runs. Raised his ERA over five (5.08) – just bad. The only positive to the pitching was that Josh Rupe, Jack Benoit, & Jamey Wright all had scoreless innings to follow, but it didn’t much matter at that time.
Wandy Rodriguez for the Astros threw gem of a game against us, and even if Kevin had given up just a few runs, it wouldn’t have much mattered. In his eight innings, Rodriguez only gave up a single run on five hits. The run that he did give up was in his last inning pitched on a single to Ian Kinsler. We were pretty much shut down all game. There was one surprise hit though – a double by Kevin Millwood. This ends NL Interleague for the season, and our pitchers did pretty well as a group with the stick.
Josh Hamilton & Milton Bradley were in the game, but neither factored into what little offense we did have, and Hamilton had to leave the game after the first inning when he was hit in the hand by a pitch. Anyone else having visions of him being elected to play in the All-Star game, but not being able to?
This ends the Silver Boot series for 2008. Every year someone writes about this – if you recall, the Rangers were making a big stink about getting out of the AL West and going to the AL Central to be more in tune with the time zone we’re in. That was apparently going to happen, and Tom Hicks let Bud Selig off the hook by accepting a guaranteed series each year against the Astros, keeping us with a lot of 9PM game starting times. This was supposed to become a big rivalry, but it hasn’t happened. I do like seeing us play the Astros, that part is nice, but the rivalry is a non issue. The most telling thing of all was the quote by Michael Young about the silver boot that the Rangers won (again on run differential, as the series was 3-3). Young said, “I could care less,” shortstop Michael Young said. “They can keep it for all I care.” That your “face of the franchise” player said that about the boot tells you all you need to know. As much as I like the Astros games, I think I’d rather be in the AL Central with more realistic starting times for my inter-division games.
Philly comes to down for the first time ever. My brother is flying in from Philadelphia, and we’re going to be at all three games. Yeah, I’ll be wearing Phillies shirts – it’s not often I get to see my home town team live. I’ll probably do the thing where I wear a Phillies shirt, and a Rangers cap. Probably won’t see too many of those in the park. :)

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G79: Rangers win nailbiter over Astros, 3-2

I’m still pretty tied down with work, and since I wanted to get this done before the next game starts, I’m going to have to resort to something quick.
1) Scott Feldman can’t catch a break. On a game he doesn’t pitch terribly well, the team goes on to win a low scoring game. They can’t score for him when he pitches great. Go figure.
2) CJ Wilson really feels like John Wetteland in that he gives you a heart attack before getting the save.
3) Welcome Max Ramirez! Not only did he get his first major league hit in the game, he then went on to get his first home run, a two run shot that turned out to be the game winner. That was really nice to see!
Tonight is the rubber game for the series, and for the overall Silver Boot. I should have some time to write about that one tomorrow.

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G78: Rangers drop Game 1 in “H Town”, 4-3

Still busy with the project from yesterday, no time to write.

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G77: Rangers are one game over .500 with 5-3 win

I was sitting down to write recaps for the weekend’s games and was handed a project by my boss, so I will have to pass on this game.
Nice to see Pidente get his 10th win – probably could be a candidate to be an All-Star pitcher, but the last time he was, there was a tie in the All Star game. :)

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G76: Rangers come back and stomp on Nats, 13-3

The Rangers got out to a lead early in this one, with a leadoff home run by Ian Kinsler, just two pitches into the game. Unfortunately, despite the score, it was NOT one of those games that you get out early and coast. For two reasons.
One – our bullpen lately won’t let you coast.
Two – We let the Nats back in the game fairly quickly.
We did get out to a three run lead in the first inning, then our bats went silent for awhile. It was during this time that Kason Gabbard let the Nats creep back in with a two run fourth, and solo run in the fifth to make the score at that time 4-3.
But a huge seven spot in the seventh inning put the Rangers way out front, and a few single runs in the last two frames assured this was a Nats stomping game.
The Rangers had eighteen hits in all, but mostly just singles. Kinsler’s home run, and doubles by Murphy, Young, & Vazquez were it for extra base hits.

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G75: Rangers lose in 14 innings to Nats, 4-3

Jamey Wright got himself in some hot water in the 14th inning. Bases loaded, one out. Got a strikeout, but hit a grounder just out of the reach of Michael Young. That was it.
Wasted a good outing by Kevin Millwood. Hats off to the Nats pen, which kept us almost completely down from the third inning on. In fact, from the seventh inning onwards, we had just one hit.
We may have lost Gerald Laird for awhile, as his hamstring looked really bad when he collapsed in a heap. That will probably make Salty the #1 catcher for awhile, they’ll probably bring up one of our kids to be the backup. Nice that Salty did finally get a guy stealing.
Basically, all this boils down to one word – DAMMIT!

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G74: Rangers walk off with 5-4 win, but didn’t have to

The Rangers won in a thrilling fashion. Most everyone loves walk off wins in the bottom of the ninth. However, this is one I wished we didn’t have to get to.
First off, Scott Feldman continues to be the most unlucky pitcher on our staff in 2008. He left the game again with a lead. I don’t have a count in front of me of how many games he’s had blown for him by the pen, but it’s quite a few. His record is 1-3, and has started nine games this year. He’d probably have a winning record by more than a few games if the pen could hold a lead. It’s probably why we continue to be a .500 team.
Which brings me to another point. CJ Wilson is having a major rough stretch right now. He’s either blown saves, or just given up runs when he’s been brought in for non save opportunities. If he doesn’t get it together soon, I wonder if Ron Washington will go to someone else, like Guardado or Wright for saves? I have CJ Wilson on several fantasy teams, I wonder if I need to make some moves there.
Speaking of Guardado, how about that fifteen pitch at bat to his first batter? That’s a heck of a lot. I remember when I was a kid, a guy by the name of Jay Johnstone for the Phillies had a 21 pitch at bat. But 15 is a heck of a lot of pitches. Good thing Eddie came through with a called third strike there.
Offensively, the big blast was a three run home run by Brandon Boggs in the sixth inning. That was to Atlanta reliever Jeff Ridgeway, who was the first of six relievers Bobby Cox used. In fact, of those relievers, only one pitched more than .2 of an inning! Anyway, Boggs’ blast gave us a 4-2 lead at the time, and the game was actually feeling like it was one we were going to win – something we’ve had trouble with in the daytime this year.
Jarrod Salatamacchia continues to show that Gerald Laird is by far the better catcher on this team for now. Yeah, Jarrod is supposed to have a higher “potential” than Laird, but Laird is doing well now. Makes you wonder if perhaps Salty will get moved in July and bring up someone like Max Ramirez to be Laird’s backup.
Anyway, nice to get a win.

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G73: Bullpen blows it late, Rangers lose to Atlanta 5-2

You know, I was planning on writing how much I was enjoying this game, how I thought Eric Hurley deserved a better fate, and all that. But all I really WANT to do is post this image:


Yes, I know that’s Adam Hydzu & Akinori Otsuka up there, but I didn’t have a current picture of the bullpen like this. :)

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G72: Rangers take opener against Braves at home, 7-5

The Atlanta Braves come to town. This is I believe their third trip to Texas, and yet the Phillies still haven’t been here. I know Interleague is not an exact science, but I would like to see some other teams besides the same one over and over again like that. Especially when we have realistically only two inbound NL teams. Yeah, yeah – we get three, but one is ALWAYS the Astros, so we have only two from the “rotating pool” of other NL teams.
Vicente Padilla continues to be good this season. This game was yet another in his great 2008 performances. Six innings, two hits, two walks, and two runs allowed, although just one was earned. One of the runs was a solo home run in the sixth – he looked pretty good, although not as crisp and dominating – at least not late. Early on he was, retiring the first 13 batters. Guess that does qualify as dominating, eh? :) The pen almost blew it late, but they did hang on for Pidente’s 9th win of the season.
Offensively, we got started early with an upper tank home run by Josh Hamilton. Was a serious no doubter – Tim Hudson looked like he got whiplash turning around so fast to see where it went. Marlon Byrd also had a home run in the sixth inning that went right into the wedgie. Milton Bradley went 1-2 with two RBI’s before having to come out of the game with a “mild” strain injury. They didn’t seem concerned, but with Bradley, you have to worry. He’s been a great surprise this season, but there’s always his health in the back of one’s mind.
Bradley was the only Ranger with more than one hit. Of the starters, only David Murphy & Michael Young went ofer – everyone else had a lone hit. Two were doubles (Kinsler, Cat), and the rest were singles. But this was all well placed, as we put a four spot on Tim Hudson in the third inning.
Nice to get the win. Although I have to admit I’m getting tired of saying “..back to .500″. I’ve said that way too many times this year. We need a winning streak.

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G71: Rangers split DH, lose series with 4-2 loss

We were shut down by New York’s pitching. Michael Young & Josh Hamilton had RBI singles in the first and third innings, but that’s all we managed to push across the plate all game. Even one of those runs was unearned. Of our six overall hits, just one was an extra base hit (double by Cat). That was pretty much it.
Kason Gabbard was “meh”, although I didn’t think he was THAT awful. 5.2IP, 8H, 3BB, 4ER.
I have to say I don’t like watching pitchers bat. If we continue to have splits between AL & NL vs the DH, then we need to reverse it in interleague. Use the DH In NL towns, and make pitchers bat in AL parks.

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G70: Rangers hang on with 8-7 win in Game 1 of DH

Boy, the Rangers really tried to give this one away, didn’t they?
Kevin Millwood came out, threw a good outing (6IP, 2R). Had too many walks (4 in 6 innings), but still got the job done. Only two runs allowed. Then Frank Francisco came in after an inning of scoreless relief by Jamey Wright. Francisco proceeded to stink up the joint worse than a Chan Ho Park outing. Just one out, gave up two hits, two walks, and allowed three earned runs to score. Well, some of them were “allowed” by Eddie Guardado, but you know what I mean. CJ Wilson got the save, and in true John Wetteland fashion, was all over the place, allowed a few runs to score, left guys on base – was so far from a clean save, it was’t funny.
We needed all the offense we got, plus a great defensive throw by Milton Bradley to gun out a Met at home plate turned out to be bigger than I think anyone thought it was at the time.
The Rangers were powered by three home runs (Vazquez, Kinsler, & Bradley). Bradley’s appeared to leave the park completely. Vazquez was the leader, going 3-4 with 4 RBI’s and two runs scored. Nice game for Ramon.

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Rangers and Mets rained out

The game between the Mets & Rangers was rained out. Came in from mowing the lawn tonight, and after a shower, sat down to watch the game. Puddles of rain in the outfield, and thanks to TiVo, I fast forwarded about an hour and a half and found out there was no game to be played.
Father’s day tomorrow, and a doubleheader! The only thing that would have made that better was if the doubleheader was in Arlington, and not in Flushing, NY.

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G69: Rangers shut down by Oliver Perez, lose 7-1

The Rangers were a good example of good pitching vs good hitting. For seven innings, the Rangers were shut down by Oliver Perez and the Mets. He allowed just three hits, while striking out eight. The only two blemishes were a solo home run by Josh Hamilton in the first inning, a single by (of all people) Scott Feldman, and another single by Hamilton later in the game. That was IT! The Rangers had nothing going all night, our swings looked bad – Perez was on. Not a lot you can do against that.
Feldman looked OK for awhile, giving up three runs in the first five. But he ran out of gas (or the wheels fell off, or any other euphemism you want to put here) in the sixth, and allowed four more runs. In all, Scott allowed six earned runs, and one unearned run. Josh Rupe and Robinson Tejeda finished up the last three innings, giving up nothing, but the damage was done.
This was Oliver Perez’ game. Not much more to say about this one.

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G68: Rangers can’t sweep anyone again, lose 6-5

We just can’t break out the brooms. Thought we had it in hand, but the Royals came back and beat us like we beat them the previous two games, although with not as many runs on the scoreboard. :)
It started off with the major league debut of Eric Hurley for the Rangers. Eric sounded like he was pretty decent. He got burnt by a few home run balls – all four runs Eric gave up were to the longball. For a major league debut, going six, giving up four on six hits and three strikeouts – but more importantly, no walks! All in all, I’d say it was a pretty good start. Assuming he stays in rotation, and isn’t sent back out again, his next opponent will likely be the Atlanta Braves back home, a slightly better hitting team than the Royals. Let’s see what happened.
Offensively, we were held to just seven hits, but they were efficient, as we pushed across five runs on them. KC didn’t help much, giving up just one walk all day. Michael Young took another ofer for the second game in a row, dropping his average below 300 again (to .299). Josh Hamilton was the only Ranger with more than one hit (two doubles), the other five were scattered, although two of them were back to back home runs by German Duran (three run) & Ian Kinsler (solo).
The game was lost by Frank Francisco, who gave up the tying and winning runs in the bottom of the eighth, losing it for Hurley. Oh well. On to Shea Stadium and the Mets.

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G67: Rangers win 11-5 behind big seven spot in seventh

Through six innings, this game felt a lot like the game that preceded it. Rangers starter wasn’t exactly bad, but his line was not great at the end. Vicente Padilla was the 2007 version of himself. Not bad, but not really that good. His final line was six innings, seven hits, three walks, five runs (four earned). Meh. He was victimized most by Mark Grudzajklwslfkkzb (har) who had a double, and a two run home run, and four RBI’s in all. The Royals picked away with small amounts of runs (two in the third, one in the fifth, two in the sixth) until we were down 5-1 going into the seventh.
Kyle Davies started for Kansas City, and pitched like Gil Meche did the game before, pretty darned well. Davies allowed just a single run over his six innings pitched. He did walk a lot – five, to go with six hits. But he got outs when they counted. Then we got to the Kansas City bullpen.
Then we got to the seventh where it seemed Kansas City just couldn’t get anyone out. To save time, I’ll post the play by play from the game. It pretty much tells the story, but I’d be remiss in mentioning the big blast – a grand slam by David Murphy, his first ever career slam. Came off a lefty, too.

Rangers 7th (Rangers 8, Royals 5) — Pitcher Change: J. Fulchino replaces K. Davies. R. Vazquez triples to center field. I. Kinsler reaches on throwing error by M. Aviles, R. Vazquez scores; I. Kinsler to 2nd. M. Young walks. Pitcher Change: J. Gobble replaces J. Fulchino. J. Hamilton singles to center field, I. Kinsler scores; M. Young to 2nd. M. Bradley walks, M. Young to 3rd; J. Hamilton to 2nd. D. Murphy hits a grand slam to right field on a 2-0 pitch, M. Young scores; J. Hamilton scores; M. Bradley scores. M. Byrd doubles to center field. Pitcher Change: Y. Yabuta replaces J. Gobble. F. Catalanotto out on a sacrifice bunt, Y. Yabuta to M. Teahen, M. Byrd to 3rd. G. Laird out on a sacrifice fly to J. Gathright, M. Byrd scores. R. Vazquez grounds out to M. Teahen. (7 Runs, 4 Hits, 1 Errors, 0 LOB)

There was some SERIOUS booing coming from the stands in Kansas City over this inning. We tacked on some more in the ninth with the second home run by David Murphy in the game (a solo shot). We got two more on some more singles. It was a pretty good offense this night. Yeah, it’s Kansas City, but you always like seeing more runs than less.
I also take responsibility for ending Michael Young’s hitting streak. I posted that graphic yesterday of Gabe Kapler’s 28 game hitting streak from some years ago, and then Young’s stopped at 23. :)

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G66: Back to .500 AGAIN with 5-4 comeback in Kansas City

This was one of those games where you had a sinking feeling as it progressed. There wasn’t any one incident where you go “AHA! – That’s the problem!”. It was one of those where Kevin Millwood was not terribly sharp. He wasn’t a complete pile of suck, but he wasn’t the good Millwood we’ve had this year. The Royals were picking away at Kevin over the game. KC got single runs in the first (Guillen single), fourth (Buck single), and fifth innings (Gordon home run). We countered with a run in the top of the sixth (Hamilton FC), but KC got a two spot in the bottom of the frame (Aviles single, Gathright single), killing any good vibes from the top of the inning.
So we go into the down 5-1, and to be honest, I almost turned off the game. My family went out to a nice dinner at a restaurant downtown with our church group, and by the time we got back, got our girl down to bed, it was late, and I was in a post Mexican food coma in the first place. Good thing I didn’t give in to that, because the top of the eighth was a great inning to be a Rangers fan. It started out like no big deal, with two quick outs (Vazquez groundout, Kinsler fly out). But the the fun began. Michael Young walked, and then the huge break of the game, Josh Hamilton reached base on a fielding error by Mark Teahan at first. It should have ended the inning, but it was allowed to continue. That was the floodgate key we needed, because it was immediately followed by first a pitching change (to Brett Tomko), and then:
Double by Milton Bradley, scoring Young and Hamilton
Single by David Murphy, scoring Bradley
Pitching Change (to Yabuta)
Single by Gerald Laird
Single by Chris Shelton, scoring Murphy
That tied up the game at five, and it was quite a moment. You kind of wanted to take the lead then, especially as there was a walk after Shelton’s single before the final out was made. The momentum was going, and you wanted to take the lead right then. But we didn’t.
We did in the ninth. It was funny, Josh Lewin & Victor Rojas were talking about how the Royals reliever Ramon Ramirez has a habit of uncorking wild pitches. Turns out he was let down by John Buck who had a passed ball, allowing Ian Kinsler to score the winning run, setting off a celebration by Milton Bradley on the base paths that might be one of the most excited things I’ve seen a player do on the field, outside of winning a championship or in one of those walk-off mob scenes.
I did manage to see all this, and didn’t succumb to the Tex-Mex coma I was dangerously close to falling into. :)
I’d be remiss if I didn’t say something about the new giant scoreboard in center field. I mean, this thing was bloody massive! Check out this picture I saw over at the Royals site in the section they have about their overall ballpark renovation:

I mean it’s friggin HUGE! They didn’t even have the crown topper on it – there was a shot of the crown lying in disgust in the dirt out back. But even without that, it’s gigantic! I read a bit about it, and I believe it beats the previous record holders for scoreboard size (UT Austin, San Francisco, & Atlanta). All these giant boards are really making the little tiny thing in our ballpark look like a joke. We need a REAL scoreboard, Chuck. I know it’s not up to you, but we need something that doesn’t make it look like we have a tiny little old black and white 10 inch TV set in comparison. The problem with our park is even if you did have a scoreboard that huge, where would you put it? Can’t put it where the current board is. You’d have to do something like Cleveland did, but we’d have to rip out say Sections 301-306 or so in the ballpark. Not that anyone sits up there except for opening day anyway.
Come on Nolan. Push Hicks into it!

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G65: Rangers get win in series finale, 6-3

Well, this game had a few rather entertaining moments, both of them involving Rays players. One was the pitcher and catcher arguing on the mound after a home run ball by German Duran. Then we saw footage of the two of them continuing to argue in the dugout, eventually going down the walkway, followed by half a dozen players and coaches. We didn’t see THAT, but one has to assume there was some sort of altercation. Matt Garza (the pitcher) did not return for the next inning. His numbers weren’t all that bad, really (4IP, 6H, 3ER, 2HR), so I have to assume he was taken out due to his actions outside the lines. The second entertaining moment was Eric Hinske being ejected in the sixth inning. The final one was Rangers Captain catching a foul ball. Rather enjoyed that.
This game was also monumental in that it’s the game I finally got my three year old to understand that a “Home Run” was not when someone was running. She used to think a home run was when anyone started running. But I convinced her today that Home Run was when someone hit the ball with a bat over the fence, and then they got to run – that was a Home Run. Enjoyed that parental moment a lot. :)
Michael Young and Josh Hamilton were out of the game for rest, mostly. With tomorrow off, it’s not a surprise that you rest guys on the last day before a scheduled day off. To pick up the slack, we recalled German Duran from AAA so that we could stop with the oddball scenarios that ended up with Gerald Laird playing third. Duran playing third allowed Vazquez to sub for Michael Young, who was ailing.
The offense didn’t suffer a whole lot with two of our top three producers out. David Murphy got it started with a home run in the first inning, pulled right over the wedgie in right field. It stayed that way until the fourth inning, when German Duran jacked a two run home run just to the left of the 400 sign in dead center field, promoting the fracas with Matt Garza. We tacked on another run in the fifth on a couple of walks and a single. A couple more singles came in the seventh (single, steal, single), and the eighth on another home run by Ramon Vazquez.
On the Rangers pitching side, Doug Mathis started for the Rangers. After a wobbly first inning where he still put up a zero, Doug got a lot better. In all, Doug went 5.1 innings, giving up just two runs (both towards the end of his time on the hill), both on a home run to BJ Upton. If it wasn’t for THAT, he would have had a donut up there. But donuts are what the pen put up after him. Frank Francisco, Eddie Guardado, & CJ Wilson followed up and combined for 3.2 innings of shutout ball. Probably the reasons for the shutout were that none of the uniform numbers were 45 or 53.
Anyway, it was nice to get a win to end the series and the homestand. It’s weird, as the Rays are a team we can’t seem to beat. Been a series winning for every series since late April except for the two against Tampa Bay.
We head on the road against Kansas City, who isn’t that great overall, but has Jose Guillen going about as a hot as Milton Bradley right now. Then it’s interleague action for the rest of the month, as we have series against the Mets, Braves, Nationals, Astros, & Phillies before we see the AL again on the final day of the month, in Yankee Stadium.