BY: Richard W. Humphrey
Texas dropped three of four to New York to start the week, finishing the seven game road trip that kicked off the second half at 2-5. Their record is now 22 games under .500 at 40-62, the worst in baseball. They are a season high 23.5 games out of first place in the American League West and trail fourth place Houston by two full games.
The Rangers won the opening game of the series, just the third win in July. Miles Mikolas was the story. He pitched into the eighth inning while allowing two runs on four hits. The key moment came in the fifth inning when the Yankees threatened with the bases loaded, one out and with Derek Jeter coming to the plate. Mikolas put out the fire by coaxing an inning ending double play.
The Yankees scored their runs in the first and fourth innings. Carlos Beltran drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly, while Jacoby Ellsbury homered leading off the fourth. Adrian Belte tied the game at one in the third inning when he drove home Sin-Shoo Choo from third base on a ground out.
After Mikolas got out of the fifth inning, the Rangers’ offense was sparked. They put up three more runs to take a 4-2 lead, which was the final score. The Rangers’ sixth inning started innocently enough with a ground out from J. P. Arencibia and a line out from Leonys Martin. The two out rally started with a Jake Smolenski single followed by a Jim Adduci walk. Geovany Soto singled home the first run to tie the game at two.
That was the end of Yankees’ starter Shane Green’s night. Left-hander Matt Thornton came in to face the left-handed hitting Rougned Odor. Odor however foiled the strategy when he rolled a ground ball into center field to drive home the go ahead run. Choo then drove in the insurance run with another single.
Two pitchers rumored to be the subject of trade talks finished the game for Texas. Neal Cotts relieved Mikolas to get the final two outs of the eighth inning. Joakim Soria needed just nine pitches to record three outs on two infield pops and a fly to left field among the five batters he faced in the ninth.
It was a sloppily played game by the Yankees as they made five errors. Mikolas (1-2) won his first game as a Ranger and his first game as a starting pitcher. Green (2-1) took the loss. Soria earned his 17th save, which proved to be the final save in his Ranger career.
Tuesday night’s starters were rookies Nick Martinez and Chase Whitley, both of whom have been hit hard in recent starts. It figured on paper to be a high scoring game. Amazingly, Whitley completed six innings, while Martinez pitched into the sixth. When they departed there was no score. The scoreless streak extended to 12 innings before a run crossed the plate.
J. P. Arencibia finally broke the ice with a home run in the 13th inning. Soria came on to pitch the bottom half of the inning for the save. However, he got into immediate trouble when the speedy Brett Gardner led off with a double. Jeter’s sacrifice bunt moved him to third base, and Jacoby Ellsbury tied the game with a ground single up the middle.
The Yanks threatened to win the game there as Ellsbury went to third on a Carlos Beltran single. However, with the infield playing in to cut off the run at home, Arencibia made an extremely alert play, as he allowed a soft line drive to drop rather than catch it in the air, and turned it into a 3-6-4 double play to end the inning.
At that point, Ron Washington had used his entire bullpen. After the Rangers went harmlessly out in the top of the 14th, Washington turned to Friday’s announced starting pitcher Nick Tepesch. Tepesch induced Ichiro Suzuki to ground out to start the inning, but that proved to be the only batter he retired. Three hits later, the Yankees had a 2-1 walk-off win.
It was an interesting day for Chase Headley. He woke up Tuesday morning as a San Diego Padre, but was traded to the Yankees. By the time he arrived in the Yankee’s dugout, the game was underway, and he was introducing himself to his new manager, coaches and teammates. He later pinch hit and stayed in the game. He capped off the day with the hit that drove in the winning run in the 14th inning. Nice start to his Yankee career!
Tepesch (3-6) took the loss in his first relief appearance this year. Soria was charged with just his second blown save of the season in his final Ranger appearance, as a day later he was traded to Detroit. Jeff Francis (1-2) was the winning pitcher in the 2-1 game.
The Rangers were optimistic that they would get a least a split in the series going into Wednesday’s game, as ace Yu Darvish was the starting pitcher. Yankee catcher Francisco Cervelli doubled to open the Yankees’ third inning, after the Rangers had taken a 1-0 lead in the top half of the inning with a run scoring ground out. Cervelli advanced to third on a ground out, and then scored when Darvish balked. Perhaps unnerved by the balk, Darvish served up a home run ball to Brett Gardner, making the score 2-1.
The real Yankees’ heroes in this game was their grounds crew. The score was still 2-1 when the Yankees came to bat in the fifth inning. Two batters into the inning, the skies opened up with heavy rain. Since the Rangers were on the losing end of the score and had batted five times, it would be an official game if rained out. The grounds crew looked totally inept putting the tarp on the field. First, there weren’t many ground crew members. Next they looked like the Keystone Kops flopping around. It took a full 13 minutes to get the tarp on the field, at which point, the infield was effectively too drenched to continue play when the rain ceased.
Play was halted for 1:39, and the grounds crew attempted to dry the infield by adding dirt to absorb the wetness. In the end, the field was deemed too soft to resume play, and the game was called. 2-1 was the final score. David Phelps (5-4) got the win for the Yankees with a five inning complete game. Darvis (9-6) was charged with the loss having thrown 67 pitches in 4-1/3rd innings.
Colby Lewis pitched well in the series finale Thursday afternoon, going into the seventh inning and allowing three runs on four hits. It was his third quality start in his last four outings. The offense is usually prolific when Lewis takes the mound, but not this time. Former Ranger Brandon McCarthy, making his third start for the Yankees, pitched six strong innings, allowing just a run on four hits. Four Yankee relievers finished the game, allowing one more Ranger hit – J. P. Arencibia’s fourth home run of the year and third in seven games since returning to the roster.
4-2 was the final score. McCarthy (5-10) was the winning pitcher; Lewis (6-8) took the loss. All-Star closer David Robertson earned his 25th save.
Pitching has been a major problem for Texas in the Rangers skid where they have lost 27 of their last 32 games. However, they allowed the Yankees just 10 runs in the four games. Unfortunately, not much offense showed up as the Lawmen pushed across eight, while hitting just two home runs, both by Arencibia. Texas had opportunities, but went 2-14 in the series batting with runners in scoring position.
Oakland opens a three game series this weekend in Arlington to start a six game home stand. The Yankees follow next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday morning there were no announced starting pitchers for this weekend’s series with the A’s. There has been some indecision on the Rangers’ part about this weekend’s starting pitchers. The probable starters are Jerome Williams (0-0), who will be summoned from Round Rock to make his Ranger debut as Friday’s starter. Tepesch (3-6) likely starts Saturday and Miles Nikolas (1-2) will probably take the hill on Sunday.
INJURIES AND ROSTER MOVES: On Monday, outfielder Jim Adduci was activated from the disabled list and relief pitcher Matt West was sent to Round Rock to make room for Adduci on the active roster. Geovany Soto came out of Monday’s series opening game with an injury incurred in the sixth inning game winning rally. Soto’s groin tightened after his single scored the go ahead run, and a day later, he was placed back on the disabled list to make room on the active roster for Nick Martinez, who was activated from the disabled list to start Tuesday’s game.
Joakim Soria was traded Wednesday to the Tigers for minor league prospects. Right handed reliever Nate Adcock was called up from Round Rock on Thursday to take his place on the active roster. Mitch Moreland was moved to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Adcock on the 40-man roster. The Rangers now have nine players on the 60-day DL.
* The Hall of Fame inductions are this weekend in Cooperstown, New York. Eric Nadel will become the 38th recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence. Nolan Ryan plans to attend the weekend to honor Nadel. It will be Ryan’s his first induction weekend since he was he became a member of the Hall of Fame 15 years ago. Also, pitching coach Mike Maddux will not be with the Rangers this weekend as his brother Greg, who is in his third season as a Rangers’ special assistant, will be one of the players getting inducted into the Hall. Bullpen coach Andy Hawkins will be the acting pitching coach over the weekend and Round Rock pitching coach Brad Holman will assist.
* The Rangers announced that the team would honor Derek Jeter before the game on July 30 at Globe Life Park. Pregame ceremonies will begin 6:40 PM. Former Jeter Ranger opponents Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez and Michael Young will be among those involved in the honoring Jeter.
* Miles Mikolas became the 16th different pitcher to win a game for Texas this season when he was credited with the win in Monday’s game. Also, when Jim Adduci appeared at first base during the series, he became the ninth player to play first base this season, most in the Majors.