BY: Richard W. Humphrey
Oakland took two of three this weekend to drop the Rangers’ record to 41-64, the worst in baseball. The season high 23 games under .500 puts them a season high 24.5 games behind the first place Athletics. They did pick up a game on fourth place Houston, which was swept at home by the Marlins. The Rangers are now just a game out of fourth place. Perhaps worse, the Rangers are 19-32 at home this season, a percentage of .373, which is less than the worst home record the Rangers have ever recorded in a season – .403 in their first season in Texas.
For the third straight series, the Rangers won the opening game, this time by the score of 4-1. Jerome Williams started for the Rangers, completed six innings, allowing a run on five hits, and earning the win. He threw 88 pitches in the outing. His record is 2-4 for the year and 1-0 for Texas. Four relievers finished off Oakland over the final three innings, with Neftali Feliz pitching the ninth to earn his first save since game five of the 2011 World Series.
Texas scored the four runs on nine hits (seven singles, a double and a triple) with four different players each driving in one run. They are Alex Rios, Adrian Beltre, Jim Adduci, and J. P. Arencibia.
On Saturday night, Vanderbilt alum Sonny Gray showed Ranger fans why he has become the Athletics’ staff ace. The All-Star allowed one run to Texas on seven hits over 6-2/3rds innings. That dropped his ERA to 2.65. and the win improved his record to 12-3 for the year.
Arencibia drove home Aducci in the fourth inning to get the Rangers on the scoreboard first. Nick Tepesch, who took the loss and dropped to 3-7, held the A’s off the scoreboard through five innings. The sixth was different. Eric Sogard doubled with one out, but Tepesch was an out away from closing out the inning when he coaxed a ground out from Coco Crisp. However, Tepesch threw his two most damaging pitches of the night to the next two hitters. John Jaso and Yeonis Cespedes hit home runs to right and right center to give the A’s a 3-1 lead.
Tepesch came out to warm up for the seventh inning, but couldn’t start the inning. He was later reported to have inflammation in his right knee, and his next start is in question. That opened the door for Nate Adcock to make his Ranger debut. Nate found the Majors to be different than AAA. Two of the first three hitters he faced, Josh Donaldson and Josh Reddick, took him out of the park. That pushed the Athletics’ lead to 5-1, which was the final score.
Sunday’s game surprisingly had an announced crowd of 38,915, the largest crowd in two months. In the continuing series of college nights, it was Texas A&M night, and the giveaway item was a Fedora. Perhaps that accounts for the unusually large Sunday crowd.
This game got away pretty quickly though as Oakland tallied five second inning runs. Six straight Athletics batters reached base, with the first two coming on walks from Ranger starting pitcher Miles Mikolas. The next four batters reached on a throwing error, single and two doubles to push across the five runs.
Adam Rosales got Texas back in the game with a two run home run in the bottom of the second inning. Oakland essentially put the game away in the fifth inning though when a pair of run scoring doubles chased Mikolas and plated three runs to push the score to 8-2. Oakland again in the sixth inning. and Adrian Beltre knocked his 15th home run in the eighth inning for the 9-3 final score.
Mikolas dropped to 1-3. Oakland left-hander Scott Kazmir was credited with the win to become the A’s second 12 game winner of the season.
The Yankees are in town Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for the only three games they will play in Arlington this season. Derek Jeter will be honored prior to Wednesday’s game. The announced starting pitchers for Texas are Yu Darvish (9-6) on Monday. Nick Martinez (1-6) on Tuesday and Colby Lewis (6-8) on Wednesday. All three games are scheduled to begin at 7:05 PM.
INJURIES AND ROSTER MOVES: Jake Smolenski came out of Tuesday’s game when he fouled a ball off his foot. On Friday, he was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 22, which made room on the active roster for Jerome Williams to start Friday’s game. Kevin Kouzmanoff was transferred from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Williams on the 40-man roster. Derek Holland is scheduled to make his first minor league rehab start this Wednesday for Frisco. He will be limited to two innings in his first outing.
TRADE RUMORS: The non waiver trade deadline is now just four days away. Rumor has it that the Reds and Rangers are very close to making a deal that would send Alex Rios to Cincinnati. However, Cincinnati lost two of three this weekend to fall six games behind in their division. Worse – they trail three clubs for first place. They are also 4.5 games behind three clubs for the second Wild Card slot. Consequently, they may decide to be sellers at the trade deadline. The other most likely player to be traded from the Rangers is Neal Cotts.
* The official start time temperature of Sunday’s game was 100, the first triple digit start time temperature this year.
* Nate Adcock became the 53rd player and 32nd pitcher to appear for the Rangers this year. Both of those figures lead the Majors. Texas has played 15 rookies, which is tied with Arizona for the most in the Majors this season. 53 players used is second most in Ranger history. 55 appeared in 2008.
* When Jerome Williams earned the win in Friday’s opening game of the series, he became the second pitcher to earn a win for Texas and Houston in the same season. The first was Travis Blackley last year.
* The Rangers’ top 20 prospects list has been revised and pitchers Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel, who the Rangers received from Detroit in last week’s Joakim Soria trade, are now considered the team’s sixth and seventh best prospects by MLB.com.