BY: Richard W. Humphrey
The Rangers split a pair in Miami this week, taking Wednesday afternoon’s finale 5-4 after losing Tuesday’s series opening game 4-3 in 10 innings. It was their first split of a road series and brings their record to 2-4-1 over the past seven series. Wednesday’s win brought the Rangers’ road winning percentage to .400, the lowest in the American League, but actually higher than their home winning percentage.
Wednesday afternoon, the Rangers jumped on Marlins starter Nathan Eovaldi for five runs in the first two innings, and Nick Martinez and three relievers made the early lead stand up for a 5-4 win. The Rangers pushed across three first inning runs with four consecutive two out hits, and Alex Rios doubled home two more in the second.
Martinez gave up two runs over six innings on six hits. Jon Edwards and Roman Mendez shut down the Fish in the seventh and eighth innings with one hit. Neftali Feliz came on to close the game in the ninth and ran into immediate trouble. He gave up a lead-off home run to Marcell Ozuna. One out later, Jarrod Saltalamacchia cut the lead to 5-4 with another solo home run. Feliz settled down to strike out Jeff Baker, but put the tying run on base with a walk to Christian Yelich.
At that point, Feliz had to talk manager Ron Washington out of making a pitching change. He convinced Washington to let him stay, and he paid off his manager’s confidence by striking out Donovan Solano to end the game.
Martinez (3-9) was the winning pitcher. Eovaldi (6-8) took the loss. Feliz earned his fifth save.
The opening game of the series was tightly played. Both teams pushed across a run in the fourth inning, with the Marlins’ coming on Marcell Ozuna’s 17th home run. The Marlins took the lead in the sixth inning with a pair of runs that scored on a single and sacrifice fly. Texas came right back to tie in the seventh. Rougned Odor opened the inning with a double, and aggressively scored on the play as Giancarlo Stanton fumbled the ball in right field. The Rangers’ third run scored on a bases loaded walk.
The game was still tied after nine innings, but Stanton made up for his misplay with a two out RBI single in the 10th for the Marlins’ 11th walk-off win of the year.
Miles Mikolas was the Rangers’ starter giving up three runs on eight hits over five plus innings. Neal Cotts (2-7) took the loss, though Feliz actually gave up the game winning hit to Stanton. Miami’s Sam Dyson (2-0) was the winning pitcher.
The Rangers finished 2-2 against Miami this year, splitting two game series in Arlington and Miami. All time, the Rangers lead the Marlins 10-9. The games this week were the first for Texas in the Marlins new stadium. These two games completed the Rangers’ inter-league road schedule for the year. The only remaining inter-league games are three against the Braves over the weekend of September 12, 13 and 14.
The Rangers still hold the dubious honor of worst record in baseball as Colorado is one game better. Houston is 4.5 games ahead of Texas for fourth place in the division.
Texas is back in Arlington this weekend for three games with Kansas City. This is “Alumni Legacy Weekend” with former team official Tom Schieffer getting inducted into the Rangers’ Hall of Fame. The announced starting pitchers are Colby Lewis (8-10) on Friday night, Nick Tepesch (4-7) on Saturday, and Scott Baker on Sunday. This will be the first meeting of the year with Kansas City, which is the hottest team in baseball having won 22 of their last 28 games. The Royals have over taken the Tigers to lead the Central Division.
INJURIES AND ROSTER MOVES: Derek Holland pitched more than five innings for Round Rock on Tuesday night, allowing four runs on seven hits and three walks. He struck out seven and threw 87 pitches. He thinks he’s ready, but the Rangers apparently don’t. He’ll make at least one more start in the minors and likely will not be activated until rosters expand in September.
* The Rangers have now used 57 players and 36 pitchers this season, both team records. They have also used 18 rookies, which leads the American League.