Cue overdramatic headline. After the Rangers missed several opportunities to score in the first two games of the series, and even early in today’s game, they finally got some runs on the board and even were able to get a mammoth home run from Nelson Cruz that really made it easy for the Texas bullpen to hold on.
The important thing is that even though Texas has not been scoring, they have been getting good at bats, especially early on today against Dan Haren. By forcing him to throw so many pitches early on, they were able to get to the middle relievers in a weak Anaheim bullpen. And by getting so many people on base, it still is a positive sign even if they were not able to take advantage of their opportunities.
The more pressing concern, like I wrote earlier today has been the defense and how the pitching has responded to the errors. A lot of people have said, the offense can come and go, as can the pitching but as long as you execute defensively, you’ll be alright and that is probably something that was talked about in the pre-game team meeting held by the Rangers.
So, with the win, the Rangers now move 4.5 games ahead of the Angels. It maintains a comfortable lead, but as we have seen, a spell of sloppy play can go a long way towards erasing that lead. Are the Rangers worst days behind them? Can’t say much about the future but the positives is that they got a win against a very tough pitcher in what was pretty close to a must-win game to avoid a sweep at the hands of the team immediately behind them in the standings and who many thought would be their main rival going forward.
Now, the Rangers are on their way to Oakland for a four-game series against the Athletics. Oakland made history getting shut out for the 11th time so far this season. It may be right what the doctor ordered for both the Rangers pitchers and their hitters who may be able to win some games scoring three runs.
The opener goes tomorrow at 9:05 CST with Scott Feldman going against Oakland youngster Jarrod Parker. It is a tough matchup for Feldman who has struggled to get through the fifth or sixth inning in his starts although the last one would have looked a lot better had it not been for an Adrian Beltre error.
Tomorrow at 6 CST is also the start of the MLB Draft. The Rangers have five picks in the first 95 selections thanks to Toronto signing Darren Oliver and two selections due to C.J. Wilson signing with the Los Angeles Angels starting with the 29th pick. Important to note that the Rangers get the Angels’ second round pick instead of their first because Albert Pujols was rated ahead of Wilson.
We will keep you updated here at Nolan Writin’ with the Rangers first three selections (29, 39, 53) in the first round and first compensation round. The draft continues 11 AM CST Tuesday with rounds 2-15 and Wednesday at the same time with the balance.