BY: Richard W, Humphrey
Texas routed Seattle Wednesday afternoon to win a series for the first time in their last six series. Colby Lewis should be named offensive player of the year for Texas. When he takes the mound, the Rangers’ feeble offense scores runs, usually early and often. The Rangers have scored in double digits four times in Lewis’s starts and are averaging 5.1 runs per game when he is the starting pitcher.
Wednesday in Seattle, the Rangers scored 10 runs over the first four innings and cruised to a 12-4 win over the Mariners, with Lewis pitching a complete game. The two big blows came from rookie players who weren’t expected to see the light of day in the Major Leagues until 2016. Rougned Odor, the youngest player in the Majors hit a grand slam home run, while catcher Tomas Teles (pronounced Tay-Lees) stroked a three run double to account for seven of the runs. Leonys Martin, getting a chance at batting leadoff with Sin-Shoo Choo out for the season, also had three hits, including his sixth home run, and drove in three runs.
Lewis walked one and gave up seven hits over the nine innings. He struck out seven and moved his record to 9-11 as he bids to be part of the Rangers’ 2015 starting rotation. Two of the seven hits were solo home runs. There was considerable doubt as to whether Lewis would ever pitch again after the hip surgery he underwent last year. He has proved the doubters wrong, as he leads the Rangers with 24 starts and is second to Yu Darvish in innings pitched.
Seattle initially announced Felix Hernandez to start on Wednesday. They later moved him back to Friday to face the Washington Nationals in inter-league play and started Erasmo Ramirez instead. Ramirez was blasted for 10 runs on nine hits and a walk. He dropped to 1-6, and the Mariners in a tight race for a playoff spot lost a game they could ill afford to lose against the hapless Rangers.
The Rangers blanked Seattle in the series opener 2-0, their 16th shutout of the season. J. P. Arencibia singled home a run in the fourth inning, and Odor grounded out to drive home another in the seventh inning to account for the scoring. The story of the game though was the battery – pitcher Miles Mikolas and catcher Tomas Telis.
Mikolas turned in eight shutout innings, by far the best of his 10 starts with the Rangers. His performances this season have strangely been much better on the road than at home. He had sufficient rest to start last Sunday at home, but was pushed back a day to start on the road. Mikolas gave up three singles, walked one and struck out five to win his second game against five losses. That improved his road record 2-1 with a 2.63 ERA in six starts. In Arlington, he is 0-4 with a 13.73 ERA.
Telis made his Major League debut. Mikolas gave him a lot of credit for pitch calling. He told MLB.com’s T. R. Sullivan, “I think I only shook him off a handful of times. We were definitely on the same page most of the game.” Telis was 1-4 at the plate, with a bunt single in the seventh inning that contributed to the second Ranger run.
Neftali Feliz gave up a single in the ninth, but retired the other three batters he faced to nail down his seventh save. Roenis Elias (9-11) was the hard luck losing pitcher for Seattle, as he gave up a run on three hits over five innings.
Seattle rookie Jim Paxton returned the shutout favor on Tuesday as he tossed 6-2/3rds scoreless innings scattering four Ranger hits, all singles. He improved to 4-1 on the season with a sparkling 1.83 ERA in seven starts. Danny Farquhar retired all eight batters he faced in relief of Paxton to complete the game, as once again, the Rangers’ offense was feeble. It was the eighth time the Rangers have been shutout this year.
Nick Martinez started and took the loss. He gave up a home run to Robinson Cano in the first inning and another run in the second when the Rangers could not turn a double play on a bases loaded ground ball with one out. Seattle knocked him around for three more runs in the fourth inning. He walked the leadoff batter, then gave up a single and a double to score two more Seattle runs. Former Ranger Endy Chavez hit the double, but was out trying to stretch the hit to a triple. However, the M’s added another run on a two out triple followed by a single.
5-0 was the final score. Martinez fell to 3-10 with the loss.
The two Ranger wins against Seattle brings their win total to 52 for the year. They need to win 11 of the final 30 games to avoid a 100 loss season. Their record is still the worst in baseball behind Colorado. All but seven of the final 30 games, all against the Astros, are against teams with winning records and in contention for a playoff berth.
The road trip continues with four games in Houston this weekend. The announced starting pitchers are Nick Tepesch (4-8) on Thursday night, TBA on Friday, Miles Mikolas (2-5) on Saturday and Nick Martinez (3-10) on Sunday afternoon.
INJURIES AND ROSTER MOVES: Sin-Shoo Choo underwent season ending surgery to remove bone chips in his elbow. Michael Choice was called up from Round Rock to take his place on the roster. Alex Rios came out of Tuesday’s game with a swollen thumb and did not play Wednesday. Derek Holland’s final minor league rehab start is scheduled Thursday night for Round Rock.
* When Tomas Telis played Monday night, he was the Rangers’ 58th player and 19th rookie to perform for the team this year. 58 players used in one season is a new team record, while 19 rookies ties the team record set in 2008. The Major League record for players used in a season is 59.
* Neftali Feliz has been astounding in his career against the Mariners. With Monday’s save, he has faced the Mariners 18 times encompassing 17 innings. Austin Jackson singled in the ninth on Monday night, and that is the only hit he has allowed in the 18 appearances. He is 2-0 with 10 saves. The M’s are batting .019 (1-52) against him. Only five other Mariners have reached base against him – four walks and a hit batsman. He has 21 strikeouts.
* 16 Ranger shutouts this year rank third in the Majors behind St. Louis with 18 and Tampa Bay with 17.