The Rangers completed a sweep of the Houston Astros and a near perfect National League road trip on Sunday. The Rangers now have a 41-28 record overall which is leading the division by 3.5 games. On Sunday’s game Josh Hamilton had five hits, including the go ahead hit and the winning hit pushing him closer to an all-star game appearance.
The Rangers are now done with National League Parks for 2010 until the World Series. I am sure Manager Ron Washington is glad to have his designated hitter back and not having to have his pitcher hit. I am pro designated hitter, I believe in the American League rule. I believe it makes the games a lot more exciting because every ninth turn in the rotation hypothetically is not just a pitcher stepping to the plate and nothing coming from it.
Last year during interleague play I remember watching Sunday Night Baseball and it was Yankees at Mets. Yankees closer Mariano Rivera pitched the eighth inning and they planned on him pitching the ninth. The Yankees tried to fool the Mets by not having him step up on deck. They had some reserve player up there pretending to get ready to hit.
I remember there were two men on base and Derek Jeter was at the plate. The general understanding ,while at least among the television audience was that Rivera was going to hit, so walk Jeter to face off against Rivera. First pitch to Jeter was an attempted strike and I remember Jeter stepping out of the box and looking surprised because he figured he would be walked.
Eventually he did walk and Rivera stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded and we all figured along with the Mets that Closer Frankie Rodriguez (K-Rod) would strike out Rivera on 3 pitches. He eventually walked Rivera crediting him with his only MLB RBI. So that is one interesting time where a pitcher faced a pitcher, but I am all for the D.H. rule. The game seems to flow so much easier because your are not constantly pinch hitting somebody for the pitcher. More time can be devoted to strategy to win the game rather than avoiding the pitcher batting.
Other than Josh Hamilton’s amazing five for six game today to propel the Rangers to a sweep of the Astros, starting pitcher Colby Lewis gave an amazing performance of his own on Saturday. He pitched a complete game only giving up 2 hits and one run for the win. His only blemish came in the seventh when he gave a lead off double to Michael Bourn. He then got Jeff Keppinger to fly out to center field for the first out of the inning.
Lance Berkman then grounded out, but it moved Bourn to third base. Carlos Lee then stepped up to the plate and Lewis threw a wild pitch and it allowed Bourn to score. Lewis then regained his composure and struck out Lee swinging to end the inning. Lewis improved his record to 7-4 with a 3.07 ERA in 14 starts this season.
The Rangers now head home to face off against the Pittsburgh Pirates with Tommy Hunter (2-0 2.08 ERA) taking the mound against Ross Ohlendorf (0-5 5.22 ERA). They will face the Pirates for a three game starting Tuesday before facing the Astros in the last interleague series of the regular season.