BY: Richard W. Humphrey
NOTE: I want to extend a special thank you to John Martin, a good friend and a great Ranger fan. He provided information on every Ranger game last week while I was out of the country. For sure, any insights in this report came from John.
Texas began their road trip up the West Coast by splitting six games in San Diego and Los Angeles. The Rangers scored the winning run in all three wins in the seventh inning or later. The Astros meanwhile went 3-3 at home to maintain a three game lead over Texas in the American League West. Texas leads the Twins by 1.5 games (two in the loss column) for the second Wild Card spot, but is five games behind the Yankees for the first Wild Card berth.
The Rangers began the week by taking two of three from the Padres. In the first game, Colby Lewis got hit for the second start in a row. He gave up two runs in the third inning, and then the game got away in the sixth inning as the Pads pushed across four more runs. All six were charged to Lewis, though one was unearned.
The Ranger offense mustered just three hits on the night and was shutout 7-0. Lewis fell to 14-7, while Tyson Ross went seven innings allowing all three Ranger runs to earn the win, his 10th against nine losses.
Texas came back to win the next two games to take the series two games to one. A short start of five innings for Yovani Gallardo forced the Rangers to use four relievers on Tuesday. Gallardo coughed up an early 3-0 Ranger lead as Texas trailed 4-3 when he departed.
However, the offense rallied for the win highlighted by a four run seventh inning. All four runs scored with two outs as Elvis Andrus singled with the bases loaded. A fielding error allowed all three runners to score and Andrus to advance to third base. He later stole home.
8-6 was the final score. Reliever Ross Ohlendorf was the winning pitcher. He’s 2-0. Padres reliever Marc Rzepczynski fell to 2-4 with the loss.
Texas needed 10 innings on Wednesday to wrap up the series win. Mitch Moreland plated the winning run in the 10th with a double. 4-3 was the final score. Sam Dyson pitched the ninth and 10th innings facing seven batters to earn the win. He’s 5-4. Bud Norris (3-10) was the Pads’ losing pitcher.
Cole Hamels gave up all three San Diego runs over seven innings. However, two of the runs scored in the fourth inning on a jam shot. Chris Gimenez hit the only Ranger home run, his fifth of the season that tied the game at two at the time.
After an off day on Thursday, the Rangers next to the last of the season, Texas opened with a 5-2 loss to the Angels on Friday night. Texas never led as Los Angeles took a 3-0 lead with two runs in the third and another in the fifth inning. The Rangers closed to within a run, but the Angels padded their lead two more runs in the seventh inning.
Martin Perez gave up three runs in six innings to earn another quality start. He took the loss to fall to 2-4. Garrett Richards improved to 13-10 with the win. Huston Street pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn his 33rd save.
The highlight game of the week for Texas came on Saturday. Derek Holland gave up a run in the first when Mike Trout tripled and scored on a groundout. From there, he slammed the door on the Angels. They touched him for just two more hits as he shut them out for the next seven innings. Holland’s ERA dropped to 2.37 with the outing.
Texas touched Angels’ starter Jered Weaver for a run in the first inning. Weaver was almost as good as Holland as he proceeded to shut out the Rangers over the next five innings allowing just four hits. Texas finally put another dent in the scoreboard when Rougned Odor hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning.
2-1 was the final score. Holland improved to 3-1 with the win. Tolleson recorded his 29th save by pitching a perfect ninth inning. Angels’ reliever Joe Smith (4-5) took the loss.
Texas lost the series on Sunday, when Colby Lewis pitched another klunker start. He gave up seven runs on 10 hits in five innings. The Angels’ hits combined with three walks and a hit batsman put 14 of the 27 batters Lewis faced on base.
The Rangers were shut out for the second time in the week as they managed just an Odor double and a Sin-Shoo Choo single. 7-0 was the final score. Lewis fell to 14-8. Hector Santiago pitched six innings of one hit ball to earn the win. He’s 8-9.
The offense is definitely a concern as the season rolls into the final four weeks (27 games). The Rangers were shut out twice last week and went 3-44 with runners in scoring position.
Texas opens a four game series in Seattle on Monday afternoon to complete the 10 game road trip. Houston, which has won just 12 road games since May 27 heads to the West Coast for a 10 game road trip starting with Oakland Monday night. The two teams face each other next week in Arlington in a show down for the division championship.
The announced starting pitchers for the Seattle series are Yovani Gallardo (11-9) verses Roenis Elias (4-7) on Monday afternoon, Cole Hamels (2-1 and 8-8) against Taijuan Walker (10-7) on Tuesday night, Martin Perez (2-4) against TBA on Wednesday, and Derek Holland (3-1) against Felix Hernandez (16-8) in Thursday’s afternoon getaway game for both teams. Texas is 4-8 against the Mariners this season.
* Texas finished August with an 18-10 record, third best in the American League behind Toronto and Kansas City.
* Yovani Gallardo was named as the Rangers “Player of the Month” for August. He was 4-0 with a 1.98 ERA in five starts.
* Texas completed interleague play with the series against San Diego. They finished 11-9 against National League competition.
* Andrew Faulkner made his Major League debut in Monday’s game, and Luke Jackson made his debut on Friday. They became the eighth and ninth players to make their Major League debut for the Rangers this year. Texas has used 57 players, including 31 pitchers this season.
* Elvis Andrus’ straight steal of home against San Diego was the eighth steal of home this season in the Majors and the 26th in Rangers’ history.