I’ll just get right into the game notes here, they tell the full story of a terrific win over our division rivals.
1. Yu Darvish – Came back after a 2-hour rain delay, having pitched one inning, and looked as sharp as ever. Although this it is somewhat rare for pitchers to come back after much more than a one-hour delay, Darvish isn’t a typical major league pitcher, and I suspect his comfort level with elevated workloads probably tipped the scales in favor of letting him have at it. In all, he was able to pitch 5.1 innings, giving up three runs. The three runs were not relevant to the overall scoreline: by the time he was scored on, the Rangers had a 7-run lead they would not relinquish for the rest of the game. Moreover, the runs all came on two different home runs, of which hit by the very interesting rookie outfielder for the Angels, Mike Trout.
2. C.J. Wilson – In a vacuum, I was sorry to see him go this offseason. He was a good pitcher, and had a couple great years with us. On the other hand, I was cognizant of some clubhouse issues he had, which came to the fore earlier this season when he leaked Mike Napoli‘s cell number as a prank. I was also surprised that the Rangers had no interest in a contract that even vaguely approached the kinds of offers he was getting from the Angels and Marlins, and suspected that the organization had some inside information on C.J. Wilson’s longevity or skill level that influenced their decision. All this to say I had mixed emotions when he took the mound. Then, he blew up. 3 straight singles to Andrus, Hamilton, and Beltre, and then a walk to Michael Young. As has been pointed out, they were all infield singles; the Angels infielders were not on their best behavior. He takes the mound on Saturday against the Rangers again, so I guess I’ll have more to say then.
2. Josh Hamilton – Our star center fielder decided to make history again, becoming just the third player to hit 17 home runs in his first 33 games. Josh Hamilton now leads the league in wRC+ and wOBA, and WAR (by almost 35%, which is absolutely insane). Not much else to say, really.
3. The rest of the offense – Terrific performance all around. Everyone got a hit, some got more. Craig Gentry deserves some recognition for his efforts, who had three hits, one of which was a critical 2-run triple in the 6-run first inning the Rangers put together. Mitch Moreland also played pretty well; his only hit was a typical monster home run, but he managed two RBI in situations where he could have struck out. Nelson Cruz had his first good game at the plate today, so hopefully he can keep it up.
4. Bullpen – Great work by the relief crew. Mark Lowe was basically flawless, and looked real great on the mound. Uehara and Ross were a little more shaky, giving up a walk and a hit each, but ultimately Uehara induced a long fly ball from Vernon Wells, and Robbie Ross induced a GIDP.
Well, that game was great. Today we get to do it all over again. I look forward to seeing how Wilson handles the Rangers lineup the second time around.