BY: Richard W. Humphrey
This weekend, Mike Trout showed the Rangers why he is considered to be the best player in baseball and why the Los Angeles Angels chose to sign him to the largest player contract in sports history ($400 million plus!). Trout hit five home runs and drove in nine runs by reaching base 13 times in 16 plate appearances including six hits in 11 at bats (.545) during the series to lead the Angels to a 3-1 series win. Texas falls to 5-5 for the season and is tied with Houston for second place, 3.5 games behind Seattle. The Angels still occupy the American League West cellar with a 4-6 record.
The opening game of the series on Thursday evening was the Angels home opener. The Rangers spoiled it for the local fans early. Joey Gallo homered as three of the first four batters of the game scored. Later in the first inning, Ronald Guzman hit a two run home run to make the score 5-0 before the Angels came to bat.
Edinson Volquez was the beneficiary of the Rangers’ offensive largess, but he wasn’t able to capitalize. He was relieved in the fourth inning having allowed two runs on four hits and four walks. Jeffrey Springs took his place, finished the fourth and retired the Angels for two more innings. He gave up a run on two hits, which was good enough to earn the win. He’s 1-0.
The Ranger batters kept on scoring with a run in the third inning and three more in the fifth inning. Isiah Kiner-Falefa doubled home the run in the third, his first RBI of the year. The Rangers loaded the bases in the fifth inning with no outs, but almost didn’t score. Shin-Soo Choo cleared the bases with a two out double. Elvis Andrus singled home two more runs in the eighth inning to make the final score 11-4.
Mike Harvey (0-1) lasted just four innings and took the loss for Los Angeles.
The Rangers’ offense disappeared for the rest of the weekend as the Angels took 3-1, 5-1 and 7-2 wins on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Lance Lynn was the starting pitcher Friday night, and he became the second Ranger starter to complete seven innings in a game. He gave up two runs on five hits. Jesse Chavez pitched the eighth inning and allowed a home run to Trout, who had earlier hit one off Lynn.
Gallo hit his third home run of the season for the Texas run. Lynn is 0-1 with the loss. Justin Anderson in relief earned the win to go to 1-0. Cody Allen closed the game in the ninth for his first save this year.
On Saturday, the Rangers failed to hit a home run for the first time this season. Kiner-Falefa singled home the Ranger run in the fifth inning. The difference in this game was Trout. He again homered, this time with the bases loaded. Albert Pujols also homered to complete the Angles’ scoring.
Tyler Skaggs (1-1) was LA’s winning pitcher. Drew Smyly (0-1) was knocked out in the fourth inning after giving up Trout’s grand slam. Adrian Sampson turned in his second good pitching performance of the week, allowing just one run in 3-2/3rds innings. He’s scheduled to make his first start next Saturday.
On Sunday, the Rangers took a 2-0 lead in the second inning on Gallo’s fourth home run of the year. That was all the scoring for Texas in the game, and the lead lasted just one-half inning, as the Angels answered with four runs in the bottom of the second inning. Los Angeles’ first three batters walked, walked and singled to bring home the first run. Two singles followed, each driving in a run to give the Angels a 3-2 lead, a lead they never gave up. A ground out plated the final run to make the score 4-2. Trout homered with a runner on base in the sixth inning, and Brian Goodwin hit a solo shot in the seventh to complete the scoring.
The Rangers have one of those rare weeks with two off days this week. After a day off on Monday, they play a two game series against Arizona on Tuesday and Wednesday nights in Phoenix to conclude the road trip. They then get Thursday off before opening a nine game home stand next weekend in Arlington. Game time for both games in Arizona is 8:40 PM Central, and the announced starting pitchers for Texas are Mike Minor (1-1) on Tuesday and Lance Lynn (0-1) on Wednesday.
ROSTER MOVES: Edinson Volquez was placed on the 10-day injured list after his start with a strained right elbow. Reliever Kyle Dowdy, who was on the opening day roster, was recalled from AAA Nashville. Volquez will be examined in Arlington by Dr. Keith Meister, and the best case scenario is that he is out for about a month. On Saturday, Ronald Guzman pulled up at second base grabbing his right leg after hitting a ball off the right field fence for a double. He left the game immediately for a pinch runner and was placed on the 10-day injured list Sunday with a right hamstring strain. Corner infielder Patrick Wisdom joined the team from Nashville on Sunday to take his place.
* Starting pitchers for the Rangers threw 16 innings in this series including seven for Lance Lynn, leaving 17 innings for the bullpen. The starting pitchers’ ERA is 6.59 through 10 games, and the starters are averaging 4.4 innings per game.
* Albert Pujols clubbed his 3,090th hit during the series to pass Ichiro Suzuki for 22nd place on the all time hit list.