There is a scene in Major League II when Charlie Sheen’s character Rick Vaughn comes home to his apartment after the game. The doorman asked him why he wasn’t pitching when he turned the game on in the third inning. “I thought you started,” he said. “I did,” Vaughn responded.
That’s how I felt about yesterday’s game and former Texas Ranger C.J. Wilson. I turned the game on in the third inning and the score was 3-0 Texas. A modest score, and Jerome Williams was pitching for the Angels. I was initially freaked out. I thought Wilson was starting. Then I checked the box score this morning when I woke up. Turns out Wilson did start. It made me laugh. I may not be a lifelong Rangers fan, but there are some things you catch on with quick enough.
Back to the game. I mentioned how others would need to step up with the absence of Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre, and they did. Geovany Soto hit an insurance two-run shot. The Rangers got RBI from Michael Young, Nelson Cruz, Elvis Andrus and Mike Napoli. That is the support they needed without their two big bats. Maybe the Rangers will be alright after all. It was good news in a 48 hour period without much of it.
Derek Holland was also once again brilliant. He did give up the “Derek Holland One Homerun Per Start” to Alberto Callaspo that made the game a tight 3-2, but then shut the door going seven innings, allowing six hits and walking just one. Mike Adams and Joe Nathan got some work in to shut the door in the 8th and 9th innings.
Holland said that he wanted to perform knowing that Hamilton and Beltre were out, and he did. The fact that he has been stepping up lately showed what he did in the postseason last year and the beginning of the year this year. His peripherals aren’t outstanding, but he is much more than your average Number Four starter. That, after all, is how this Texas rotation was built. They may not have the prototypical ace, but their depth is tough to beat by almost any team in baseball and especially the American League playoff teams.
There is still no word (that I have seen) on the status of Hamilton and Beltre in the series finale, but because the supporting cast stepped up yesterday, I feel a lot better than I did less than 24 hours ago.