I’ve heard it said that the outcome of any given game comes down to about 4 plays. I’ll do my best to pinpoint those plays from Thursday afternoon’s game against the Oakland A’s.
These were the moments that mattered…
1) Coco Goes Yard — Yu Darvish allowed only 1 run in the 1st inning and seemed to be cruising into the 3rd when Coco Crisp ran into one that never came down. It was his first HR in over 100 at-bats.
2) Get One Back — Texas avoided the shutdown inning in the 4th. Josh Hamilton doubled on the first pitch he saw and Adrian Beltre single him in on the very next pitch. That would be all of the scoring for the Rangers, however.
3) Sudden Loss of Zone — Darvish got the first out of the 4th on one pitch, but followed it up with back-to-back walks, a hit-by-pitch on a 1-2 count, and a sac fly. That would be Oakland’s 3rd run and they weren’t done yet…
4) Cherry on Top — After another walk in the 4th, Crisp would step to the plate and send a 2-0 pitch over Nelson Cruz‘s head for a bases clearing triple. That was the game, as the (recently) punchless offense would manage only one walk and one hit in the last 5 innings. Oakland would go on to win 7-1.
Also of note…
- The Oakland A’s don’t swing at bad pitches, which is really the only thing that they do well. Darvish learned that the hard way as he walked 6 hitters in 5.1 innings. He also gave up 6 hits and 6 runs. Not a good afternoon for the Japanese righty.
- Coming into this series I was hoping that Texas would sweep the A’s (or at least take 3 of 4), but it didn’t go that way at all. In these 4 games, Oakland averaged 6 runs per game and the Rangers only 2 per game. Texas was almost no-hit on Monday and took their first shutout loss of the year last night. Since winning the first 6 series, they have a series record of 4-8 (with a split). The Angels are now within 4 games of 1st and the lead could be down to 1 by Monday.
It is only June, but this team has looked very average for over a month now. They need to string together some wins before all of their good work in April is wasted.
- Tanner Scheppers — a hard throwing, highly touted pitching prospect — made his Major League debut in today’s game. He threw well, striking out 2 in 1.2 innings. He did give up a no-doubt solo HR to Brandon Moss, but was otherwise effective.
- Unfortunately, Scheppers was added to the roster because Derek Holland was placed on the 15-day DL earlier today. He’s listed as having “shoulder fatigue” and also “general fatigue.” The Rangers’ rotation suffered no injuries last season and already have two in 2012. Hopefully Holland isn’t sidelines for too long, as the pitching staff needs to stay healthy if the team expects to maintain their position atop the AL West.
- Scheppers will work out of the bullpen in Alexi Ogando‘s role, as Ogando has been tabbed as Holland’s temporary replacement.
- Texas will travel across the Bay to face the Giants in AT&T Park, where they have never won a game. We’ll see if those trends can’t be reversed as they try to salvage something positive out of this road trip.
Tomorrow night’s game starts at 9:15 Arlington time. Matt Harrison is scheduled to pitch.
Press on, Rangers fans.