HAMELS DEAL GIVES A LIFT
BY: Richard W. Humphrey
ARLINGTON, Texas – Texas rallied back from their most embarrassing loss of the year to win the final two games against the Yankees and gain a split in this week’s four game series. The Rangers won two games in a row at home for the first time in almost six weeks, capped off with a walk-off win in Thursday’s series finale. The acquisition of Cole Hamels from the Phillies obviously buoyed the team as they overcame three deficits in Thursday’s game to finally win in the ninth inning.
The Rangers started their two pitchers recovering from significant surgeries in the first two games – Matt Harrison and Martin Perez. Both were making their third start since being activated from the disabled list, and neither went well.
Harrison gave up hits to the bottom three in the batting order to start the third inning. Two of the three were for extra bases – a home run and a triple – and all three scored to erase the Rangers early 2-0 lead. Harrison ended up going six innings and allowing six runs to get tagged with his second loss. He’s 1-2, and his ERA is 6.75.
Alex Rodriguez celebrated his 40th birthday with a sixth inning home run. It was the sixth home run he has hit in his career on his birthday, the most ever for any player. Four of the six have come at Globe Life Ballpark, as he celebrated one of is birthdays as a Ranger with a three home run game at home. Monday’s home run also put him in a select club. He became the fourth player in Major League history to hit a home run as a teenager and in his 40′s. The other three are Ty Cobb, Gary Sheffield and former Ranger Rusty Staub.
Yankees’ shortstop Didi Gregorius hit a home run and drove in a career high four runs to supply the lightning. Elvis Andrus and Leonys Martin drove home the Texas runs in the second inning.
The Rangers never scored again as 6-2 was the final score. Yankee starter Ivan Nova (3-3) was the winning pitcher.
Tuesday’s game started well for Perez. He retired the Yanks in the first innings without a score, and then his teammates plastered the scoreboard with a five spot in the bottom of the inning to seemingly take charge of the game. Yankees starter Chris Capuano recorded just two outs before being lifted for Diego Moreno who made his Major League debut. Five different Rangers walked in the inning, and all five runs scored with two outs.
Unfortunately, it was downhill from there, and it was a BIG hill. Perez didn’t retire a batter in the second inning, as the Yankees rallied to take a 6-5 lead with no outs. Wandy Rodriguez relieved, and he was equally ineffective. The Yankees almost batted around twice to score 11 runs in the inning.
It didn’t end there. The Yanks added 10 more runs before the night was over, while Texas never got a hit after the first inning.
21-5 was the final score. Perez (1-2) took the loss and Moreno (1-0) was the winning pitcher. He was outstanding as he pitched 5-1/3 innings and did not allow a hit, walking just one and striking out five.
There were a number of interesting statistics for the game. 11 runs is the most that has been scored in an inning in any Major League game this year. 21 runs is the most that has been scored in a game since the 2013 season. And despite the football-like score, Yankees reliever Adam Warren was credited with a save, as he worked the final three innings of the game. Ranger utility man Adam Rosales made his second pitching appearance this season, becoming the second Ranger position player to make two pitching appearances.
The carnage from the game struck for both teams on Wednesday. Capuano and Rodriguez were designated for assignment. The Yankees called up Caleb Cotham, another in the line of Vanderbilt players to reach the Majors. The Rangers added Alex Claudio and Jonathan Edwards to their depleted bullpen.
Colby Lewis continued his fine streak of starts Wednesday night. He completed six innings allowing two runs on seven hits. He left with a 5-2 lead, and that was the final score. The win improved his record to 11-4, easily the most wins of any Ranger pitcher this season.
Keone Kela, Tanner Scheppers and Shawn Tolleson pitched the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, collectively walking no one and giving up just one hit. Tolleson earned his 18th save
Wednesday’s win was overshadowed by the trade that the Rangers finalized with Philadelphia. Cole Hamels became a Ranger. Texas also received a fireballing left-handed reliever – Jake Diekman. He strikes out more than 11 batters per nine innings, but has control issues. Texas also gets cash to defray a portion of Hamels’ remaining salary of approximately $80 million. The amount is rumored to be $9.5 million.
The Rangers sent Matt Harrison and five prospects to the Phillies. Three of the prospects are pitchers – Jake Thompson, Jared Eickhoff and Alec Asher. Outfielder Nick Williams, a prospect with All-Star talent, and catcher Jorge Alfaro are the other two. Alfaro is out for the season with an ankle injury. He was playing for AA Frisco, as were Thompson and Williams. Eickhoff and Asher were on AAA Round Rock’s roster at the time of the trade.
The trade was not officially announced on Thursday, but the league has approved the transaction, a requirement with the money involved. Paperwork issues have delayed the finalization of the deal, which is expected to be announced before Friday night’s game.
The final game of the series was a see-saw affair. Yovani Gallardo gave up three first inning runs, but Texas came right back to tie in the bottom half of the inning. The Rangers added another to take a 4-3 lead in the second inning, but Gallardo coughed up the lead almost immediately, as he served up a home run pitch to Brian McCann with a runner on base.
However, the Rangers came back to tie the game at five when Ryan Rua hit an inside-the-park home run in the fourth inning. Both teams scored a single run in the seventh inning, such that the game went to the bottom of the ninth tied at six.
Delino DeShields walked to start the inning. It was his third time to reach base in the game, as he also had two hits. Josh Hamilton came to the plate with two outs and runners on first and second base. He took the first two pitches for balls, and then stroked a ground ball single to right field. Leonys Martin easily scored from second base for the game winner.
Each team hit three home runs, which drove in nine of the 13 runs scored in the game.
Neither starter pitched well. The Yankees’ C. C. Sabathia left after five innings, while Gallardo completed six. Both allowed five earned runs, but neither figured in the decisions. Yankees closer Andrew Miller (0-2) took the loss, while Tolleson (3-2), who pitched a four up three down ninth inning, was the winner.
The split in the series left the Rangers eight games out of first place behind the Astros, who swept the Angels in Houston to drop them into second place. Texas is six games behind Los Angeles, four games ahead of fourth place Seattle and five games ahead of cellar-dwelling Oakland.
The Rangers best chance of reaching the playoffs are as a Wild Card team. They are four games behind Minnesota for the second Wild Card playoff spot. More problematic is that there are six teams to pass to get that second play-off spot.
The home stand continues this weekend with perhaps the most attractive series of the year from a fans standpoint. The defending World Series Champions San Francisco Giants are in town for three games. In their last appearance at Globe Life Ballpark, the Giants piled on each other around the pitchers mound to celebrate winning the 2010 World Series after game five.
The Rangers announced starters are Nick Martinez (5-6) on Friday night and Martin Perez (1-2) on Sunday afternoon. Matt Harrison was originally announced as Saturday’s starting pitcher, so there is a good likelihood that Cole Hamels makes his first Ranger start Saturday. The Giants have announced Madison Baumgarner (11-6), Tim Hudson (6-8) and Chris Heston (11-5) as their starters.
* Texas is 16-9 (.640) against American League East competition.
* The official paid attendance for Tuesday night’s game was 28,403, the smallest Arlington crowd for a Yankee game since 2009.
* Each of the four games in the series lasted more than three hours.