The Ranger’s just finished up a three game series against the Milwaukee Brewers and although Friday night and Saturday morning were less than great, the Rangers pulled away with series win, winning the last two games of the series. On Friday night Rangers starter Rich Harden had less than a superb outing giving up four home runs and ending up on the disabled list the next morning. So the beginning of series was not looking t00 promising, although it ended well and the Rangers are on their way to Florida.
After placing Harden on the D.L. things finally started to look up, as opening day starter Scott Feldman finally showed a flash of his 2009 form pitching 6 scoreless innings on Saturday. His overall line was 6.0 innings pitched, with 3 walks and 6 strikeouts giving him his best outing of the season.
The Rangers offense scored four runs total in the game, going into the bottom of the eighth inning with a score of 4-0. The Rangers bullpen struggled to finish out the last two innings, with Frank Franciscio giving up a run while pitching the eighth inning.
Then the bottom of the ninth comes around and the Rangers send in closer Neftali Feliz to close the game out and get the win with the score 4-1. He quickly gets Jim Edmonds to ground out to first baseman Justin Smoak. Then things started to unravel for Feliz as he gives up a single to Jonathan Lucroy to right field.
Alcides Escobar then walks on five pitches to put men on first and second. Pinch hitter Joe Inglett walks on another five pitches to load the bases before Rickie Weeks singles on a line drive to right field scoring Lucroy from third. The Rangers then pull Feliz in favor for Chris Ray.
Ray gets Corey Hart to hit into a ground out to Michael Young to Second Baseman Ian Kinsler. Weeks is then out at second and Escobar scores from third. Inglett advances to third and Hart is on first before Prince Fielder flies out to left fielder Josh Hamilton on a 3-2 count to preserve the win for Feldman.
Thankfully the Brewers had not had hardly any offense earlier in the game or Feliz could have been charged with a blown save and Feldman credited with a no-decision when he truly deserved the win. Instead Feldman got his win and Feliz was awarded a hold since he kept the game in check until Ray could close it out giving him his first save of the season.
That game is just a prime example of how good the Rangers bullpen is, if one man were to falter the next will step up to preserve the win and that is what it is going to take for the Rangers to hold their lead in the West.
In today’s game the Rangers chased Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo after six innings. He gave up 6 hits, four runs and 10 strike outs. Not that bad of a line though, considering he only missed the quality start by one earned run. Thankfully Rangers starter C.J. Wilson pitched a better game, going 8 innings giving up 3 hits and only 2 runs with one walk and also 10 strikeouts.
Wilson also came up big with his bat scoring Vladimir Guerrero and Josh Hamilton and moving Andres Blanco to third base in the top of the six inning. Lewis singled on a ground ball to left field on a 2-2 count with two outs. In today’s game the Rangers ended up beating the Brewers 7-2 before heading out of Milwaukee to start a three game series with the Florida Marlins on Tuesday.
The Rangers currently hold a .5 game lead in the West over the Angels, the Athletics have started to drop down and are now four games back of the Rangers after leading the division early in the season. I figure the American League West is probably going to go down to the last day of the season before the winner is determined. I just hope that game 163 is not required to determine the winner, although if it comes down to it, I am sure the Rangers will step up. We are now about a month shy of the all-star break, but the Rangers performance so far this season has been exciting.