Derek Holland was very impressive last night – he did much better than I honestly expected so I was very proud. He didn’t allow a single run although he did have the bases loaded one time. It was a complete game shutout for the young lefty – his second in his career – allowing only five hits.
The Rangers have now won four consecutive series, are on a winning streak of four games and will look to take a sweep of the Indians this afternoon while the Indians have now dropped five straight games at home. The Indians who have the best record in the American League are finding some difficulty holding on to that…what a shame! *note the sarcasm* Texas is now 2.5 games ahead of Seattle in the AL West.
Let’s take a look at the preview for this afternoon’s game.
The Indians place RHP Mitch Talbot on the mound in hopes that he can at least get the team one win out of this four game set at home against the Rangers. Talbot is 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA and 15 strikeouts. He his last time out was a win in which he allowed just one run on six hits in 6.2 innings against Toronto. The time before was a loss in which he lasted just three innings on the mound allowing eight runs on 12 hits – this was his worst outing this year and was at home.
At Progressive Field, Talbot has allowed 10 runs on 17 hits in just 7.1 innings. His ERA is 12.27 at home and he has allowed five walks along with eight strikeouts. He has just one start in his career against Texas, which came last year in July, in which he allowed four runs on seven hits over 5.2 innings.
The Rangers counter with their Ace lefty C.J. Wilson this afternoon for the final of four games in Cleveland. Wilson is 5-3 this season with 75 strikeouts and an earned run average of 3.32. His last time out was against Tampa Bay in which he pitched 6.2 innings allowing three earned runs on three hits and walking four batters while striking out 10. He didn’t receive a decision in this game. His prior outing was a win against the White Sox at home in which he only allowed one run on five hits in 6.1 innings.
On the road, Wilson is and has allowed 15 runs on 29 hits over 36.1 innings. He has struck out 39 batters and walked 13 and holds a 3.22 ERA. Against the Indians, Wilson is 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA and three saves in 20 games including two starts. He had one start in 2010 in which he and the Rangers won 12-1 with a stellar offense.
And on a historical note, Wilson is just the second Rangers pitcher that has struck out 10 or more batters in four of his starts leading up to June 1. The first was Nolan Ryan when he had six games back in 1989.
Pitchers vs. Hitters
RHP Mitch Talbot: The Rangers have only seen Talbot for no more than three at-bats. Only four Rangers have a hit off the righty. Michael Young is 1-for-2 with one homer and two RBIs as well as one walk and one strikeout and David Murphy is also 1-for-2 with one walk. Josh Hamilton and Elvis Andrus each have a hit in their three at-bats against Talbot. Hamilton has an RBI and Andrus has a double.
LHP C.J. Wilson: Grady Sizemore is 3-for-8 with one homer, two RBIs and three strikeouts, Austin Kearns is 3-for-7 with one double, one walk and two strikeouts, Shin-Soo Choo is 2-for-6 with one homer, two RBIs and one strikeout and Orlando Cabrera is 2-for-8 with one RBI. Shelley Duncan, Adam Everett and Asdrubal Cabrera are combined for 3-for-9. Michael Brantley hasn’t gotten a hit off Wilson.
If Talbot continues to pitch the way he has at home – as I assume he probably will with all the pressure that will be on him to keep the Rangers from sweeping his club – and Wilson has a solid performance – as he should – and the Rangers offense continues to hit deep – as they should – then the Rangers have this one in the bag. I predict a 7-2 win for the Rangers.