SWEPT IN LA LA LAND

LOSING STREAK HITS SEASON HIGH SIX GAMES

BY:  Richard W. Humphrey

The Rangers were swept in a two game set at Dodger Stadium this week to push their record to a season high 16 games under .500.  They have plummeted to a season high 18 games out of first place (19 in the loss column) in the American League West.  As for getting out of last place, they trail fourth place Oakland by eight games in the standings and nine in the loss column.

As a testament to how low the Rangers’ season has sunk, the most talked about play of the series was a home plate collision between Matt Kemp trying to score for the Dodgers and Robinson Chirinos making the tag at home plate in Wednesday’s series finale.  Nomar Mazara’s throw home forced Chirinos into the path of the runner, and Kemp ran over Chirinos with a forearm to his throat.  Chirinos held onto the ball after the collision to record the out.

All agreed the play was legal, but Kemp immediately came after Chirinos shoving him backwards.  Chirinos shoved back and the benches cleared.  The ruckus was over quickly.  Chirinos and Kemp were ejected from the game.  Oddly, Ranger relief pitcher Chris Martin tweaked his hamstring coming in from the bullpen and was unavailable to pitch later in the game when he was needed.

Wednesday’s game started with a site that has become all too familiar.  Cole Hamels surrendered a solo home run in the first inning to put the Rangers behind early.  The Dodgers scored again in the second inning when Yasiel Puig stole third and proceeded home when the catcher’s throw went into left field.

The Rangers tied the game in the fourth inning when Mazara doubled and scored on Jurickson Profar’s single.  Profar went to second on the throw home and then scored on Joey Gallo’s single.

The game stayed tied at two until the 11th inning, when the Dodgers scored on a bases loaded ground ball back to the pitcher.  Matt Bush’s throw home was errant allowing the runner from third to score.

Hamels pitched well going six innings, allowing the two runs, only one of which was earned.  Jesse Chavez (2-1) was the undeserving losing pitcher

The series began with a clunker for the Rangers.  Bartolo Colon was hit hard, giving up eight runs, all earned, in 3-1/3rd innings.  His ERA zoomed to 4.94.  Included among the nine hits he allowed to the 19 batters he faced, were three home runs and two doubles.

The Dodgers struck first for three runs in the second inning.  The Rangers came back with a pair in the third inning, but Los Angeles put this game away in the fourth inning with seven runs scored.

The final score was 12-5.  Of note for Colon is that he struck out three batters, putting him over the 2,500 total for his career.  He’s 3-4 with the loss.

This road trip was brief – just two games.  The Rangers are back home this weekend after an off day on Thursday.  Colorado is in Arlington for three games as interleague play continues.  The Rangers’ pitching plans are up in the air, but the announced starting pitchers are Friday – Yohander Mendez, Saturday – Mike Minor, and Sunday – TBA.

NOTABLE:

*     With no DH in the National League park, Adrian Beltre played third base in both games, his first time to play consecutive games in the field since returning from the disabled list.  He collected five hits in the series to move into 21st place on the all time hit list with 3,092.  He passed Ichiro Suzuki to become the all time hits leader for a player born outside the United States.  Next up on the list is Dave Winfield with 3,110 hits.

*     Shin-Soo Choo also had hits in both games to move his streak of reaching base to 28 games.  That’s his career high and ties Detroit’s Jeimer Candelario and Philadelphia’s Cesar Hernandez for the second best streak in the Majors this season.  They trail Philadelphia’s Odubel Herrera who reached base in 40 consecutive games.

*     The Rangers are 11-14 all time against the Dodgers and will play two more games with them in August in Arlington.

*     On Tuesday, the Rangers announced the signing of their top five draft picks in last week’s amateur draft.  They are #1 Cole Winn (RHP), #2 Owen White (RHP), #3 Jonathan Ornelas (IF), #4 Mason Englert (RHP), and #5 Jayce Easley (IF).

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