Terrific game today by the Texas Rangers. After a stretch of lackluster, uninspiring play, the Rangers came roaring back in all facets of the game, showing off their blistering offense, strong starting pitching, and shutdown bullpen.
1. Brandon Snyder – What a day for the veteran pickup. His three hits brought him to a .421 average on the year. More importantly, he was responsible for 6 RBI all of which were critical. The first two happened in the second inning, and represented the first runs Texas put on the board. The next three were the ‘put away’ runs, obtained off a three-run jack in the sixth inning that put Texas ahead 7-0. Overall, Snyder has proven to be an excellent offseason pickup. Snyder is a former Oriole prospect, so I’m sure it felt good to show his former team what they’re missing.
2. Matt Harrison – After two explosively bad starts, Harrison proved that he’s still got it by shutting down the Orioles. His final line of 6 hits, 1 walk, and 3 earned runs looks pretty great, but it looks even better when you consider that he took a 2-hit shutout into the 6th, by which point the Rangers had already climbed to a 7-0 lead. He only had 3 strikeouts, which is worrisome (especially when Mark Lowe equaled his strikeout total in just one inning); still, this start was such an improvement over his last two that I’ll take anything.
3. Alexi Ogando and Mark Lowe – Both relievers did a terrific job out of the bullpen today. They each needed 11 and 10 pitches, respectively, to shut down their side. Each pitcher also obtained a healthy amount of strikeouts, with Ogando earning two and Lowe earning three. Even though Mark Lowe’s inning had approximately zero leverage, especially after the Ranger’s 7-run 9th, he still handled himself quite well. If Lowe and Uehara continue to do well, the prospects for this team will be vastly improved. A solid bullpen is essential to success.
This game was just what the team and the fans needed. It was a real thrill to watch throughout; the whole team played like they were on a mission to send a message. I’ll be very pleased if the Rangers are able to finish the series strong, and take some momentum into the forthcoming homestand.