Well, that was no good. The Rangers lost 4-2 today, failing to put away C.J. Wilson several times despite some great opportunities. The Rangers did not commit any errors this game, at least.
1. Missed opportunities – The former Ranger C.J. Wilson wasn’t exactly a shining star today, giving up 5 hits, three walks, and lasting just 5.1 innings. The Rangers, however, we largely unable to capitalize on their hits and walks. In the first inning, no runs got through after two consecutive walks to lead off the inning. In the fifth, a two-out rally that scored a run was killed when Ian Kinsler struck out with men on second and third. The rest of the hits and walks were scattered, or foiled by double-plays.
2. Matt Harrison – The first two runs he gave up were scored on an incidental home run by Mark Trumbo, which happens in Rangers Ballpark and isn’t a sign of concern. The other two runs were scored when Harrison walked and allowed a single on the first two hitters of the seventh, and Alexi Ogando was unable to stop the bleeding: the Angels hit a single and two sac flies off of home.
3. Ernesto Frieri – Acquired from the San Diego Padres by the Angels recently, this youngish man ran all over the Rangers, striking out three in 1.2 innings, and not allowing a walk or a hit. He managed to look pretty great doing it, too. One of the critical differences between the Rangers and the Angels so far this season has been the bullpen: the Angels bullpen was prone to explosions, while the Rangers bullpen usually kept the situation locked down. The Frieri acquisition made that chasm smaller.
Getting runs across the board was a huge difference in this game. Instead of double plays, and strikeouts, the Angels were bunting or hitting sac flies. The Rangers aren’t really a small ball team, and I appreciate that fact; in truth, there isn’t a hitter on the Rangers I would rather see bunt than swing freely, because they are all so good. Still, in a close game, sometimes playing for one-run instead of the big inning pays off. Tomorrow is the big game against Jered Weaver: to be honest, I had hoped the Rangers would win the first two so they could relax and take care of Weaver without feeling pressed to close out the series. We’ll see how it all unfolds.