BY: Richard W. Humphrey
The Los Angeles Angels swept a three game series with Texas this weekend by routing the Rangers in all three games. The Angels torched Ranger pitchers for 33 runs on 47 hits, while the Rangers scored just eight runs in the series. After being swept, Texas fell below .500 at 41-42. They are now in third place 6.5 games behind first place Houston. They trail second place L. A. by 3.5 games and lead fourth place Seattle by 2.5.
The series opener on Friday night turned into an Angels’ runaway early. Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez couldn’t get out of the second inning as he gave up six runs, all earned, on five hits and two walks. He lasted just 52 pitches as his record fell to 2-4 with the loss.
Anthony Bass followed and did his usual fine job as an unsung hero. He gave up two runs in a lost cause, but completed 4-1/3rd innings to save most of the bullpen for the rest of the series. Bass woke up Saturday morning leading the Major Leagues in relief innings pitched this year with 45-2/rds. Neftali Feliz threw two scoreless innings and Ross Detwiler finished off L. A. in the ninth.
The former Oklahoma Sooner, Garrett Richards, pitched into the eighth inning for the Angels to win his ninth game. He has five losses. Richards gave up one run, and Mike Morin pitching the ninth inning allowed a Ryan Rua home run. 8-2 was the final score.
Perhaps the bigger Ranger news came after the game. The club announced that Feliz had been designated for assignment. They needed a spot on both the 40-man and 25-man active roster for the activation of Matt Harrison from the 60-day disabled list. Feliz was the surprising choice. The Rangers have 10 days to trade, waive or release him. He is just 27 and has saved 93 games in his career. There will be more than one team in baseball wanting to see if they can get him turned around, so he’s almost a certainty to be traded.
Before Saturday’s game, Texas sent Gonzalez to AAA, and Anthony Ranaudo was called up. Ranaudo has made two spot starts for Texas this year. With two off days this week, he won’t get a start, but will be the long man in the Rangers’ bullpen.
The Rangers really laid an egg on the Fourth of July. Wandy Rodriguez started and gave up three runs in the second inning, and single runs in the third and fourth. He used 103 pitches in five innings, so was cooked.
Spencer Patton came on to start the sixth. He couldn’t finish it though as the Angels put this game away with a six run inning. The big hit was C. J. Cron’s eighth home run of the season with two runners aboard. Detwiler pitched for the second day in a row to get the Angels out in the sixth. He also pitched the seventh and eighth giving up two more runs.
Cron was 3-4 on the night and drove in a career high six runs. Kole Calhoun also had a big night for L. A. He went 2-5 with a home run and five RBIs.
The Rangers’ offense was a no-show. Hector Santiago, another left-hander, shut down the Rangers on three hits over seven innings. Cesar Ramos finished the game and gave up two more hits. Among the five, a Rougned Odor double was the only hit for extra bases. The Rangers never scored.
13-0 was the final score which made the Rangers’ all time Fourth of July record 24-22, 17-11 in games played in Arlington. Santiago (5-4) was the winning pitcher. It was his second win over the Rangers this season. Rodriguez (5-4) took the loss. His ERA is up to 4.23 as he becomes a candidate to get dropped from the rotation when Martin Perez returns to the active roster. It was the fifth game this season that the Rangers have been shut out, but the first in Arlington.
The Angels’ rout in the Sunday’s series finale started early. They scored in each of the first five innings to build a 12-1 lead. C. J. Cron had four more hits as he makes batting against Texas look like machine pitch. He has struggled this season, such that the eight hits he garnered in this series elevated his batting average to only .238. He oddly has more hits against the Rangers this year than he has against all other teams he has faced combined. Pujols and Calhoun hit home runs and collectively drove in half the 12 runs.
Texas scored five runs late to close the gap to six runs. Rougned Odor hit his fourth home run and drove in half the runs. He’s been smoking hot since returning from a tune-up stint in the minor leagues. He’s hitting .365 with three home runs and 13 RBIs in the last 17 games since returning to the active roster. Despite his horrible start before the demotion to AAA, he now has more RBIs (22) than middle of the batting order stalwart Adrian Beltre (21).
12-6 was the final score. Colby Lewis (8-4) started and gave up 10 runs on 12 hits. He took the loss as his ERA ballooned up to 4.83. Former Ranger Christopher John Wilson (7-6) completed six innings and gave up three runs to earn the win.
The offense continues to sputter. Delino DeShields, Jr. was activated for game three of this series. However, Josh Hamilton missed the final two games of the series as he struggles with injuries. Beltre undoubtedly returned too early from his thumb laceration. He struggles with a .212 batting average in 13 games since he was activated from the disabled list. I. E., the three key offensive players that have been on the disabled list recently have yet to produce since coming back.
Monday is an off day, and then the Rangers finish the pre-All-Star Game portion of the schedule with five interleague games starting with Arizona on Tuesday and Wednesday. The announced pitchers for Texas are Yovani Gallardo on Tuesday (7-6) on Tuesday and Matt Harrison (0-0) on Wednesday. Arizona will send out Robbie Ray (2-4) and Jeremy Helleckson (6-5). The Rangers and Diamondbacks split a pair of games in Phoenix earlier this season.
* Albert Pujols’ home run Sunday was his 25th this year. 2015 is the 14th season that Pujols has hit at least 25 home runs. He is just the 10th player in Major League history to hit at least 25 home runs in 14 seasons.
* On the Rangers’ injury front, Derek Holland threw his first bullpen session on Friday. There is no time table yet for his return, but he is expected to make at least four minor league rehab starts before returning to the active roster.
* Friday’s game was the mathematical halfway point of the season – game number 81.
* C. J. Wilson and Hector Santiago became the 13th and 14th left-handed starters that the Rangers have faced since June 1. Only one has failed to throw a quality start against the heavily left-handed Ranger offense.
* The Rangers have now lost six straight at home and 11 of their last 15 games in Arlington. Texas has a .405 winning percentage in the 37 games played at Globe Life Park this year.