Derek Holland (7-4) fought valiantly to make it into the 7th inning, and the offense used a 6-run 6th-inning to propel the Rangers to an 8-5 win over the Orioles on Monday night. At 15 games over .500, Texas has equalled its high-water mark on the season.
Playing the Orioles has turned into a pretty strange endeavor, if you were to ask this author. I mean, yeah, of course 2012 was weird, because (a) Baltimore surprisingly had a very
lucky strong season, and (b) did it with about 20% of its roster consisting of spare parts from the Rangers’ yesteryears. Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter, Darren O’Day, Taylor Teagarden … and sure, last week for good measure they swapped out Pedro Strop to the Cubs as part of a package for another confounding ex-Arlingtonian — Scott Feldman — who started the game opposite Derek Holland on Monday night.
By and large, I consider myself an equal-opportunity sports fan. The amount of love I pile on to a given player lasts only as long as their production; for example: I don’t think one way or another about C.J. Wilson‘s or Josh Hamilton‘s production in Anaheim. While they were in Texas, they generated quite a bit of value, and birthed a lot of memories that I can’t envision leaving me anytime soon, and to me, I can’t disrespect that. I’m not a player hater.
At the same time, duh, I want C.J. to get lit up every time he faces the Rangers, and I root for Josh to strike out every time he comes up. But other than that, go ahead, boys, do great things for the Angels. Just don’t interrupt Texas’s plans in the process.
That, in a nutshell, is what facing the Orioles is like. Tonight Scott Feldman (0-1) picked up his 1st American League loss, giving up 7 runs on 9 hits while he was at it. Smiles. Chris Davis, former Ranger, future Home Run Derby participant, future starting 1st baseman for the AL in the All Star Game, went 0-4 with a BB and 4 strikeouts. More smiles.
Ian Kinsler provided the critical blow for the Ranger offense, slugging a two-out, bases-clearing double off the left-field wall to make the game 8-3, effectively ending it.
Derek Holland threw a career-high 125 pitches in 6.2 IP, scattering 5 runs (3 ER) on 10 hits — part of a barrage of BABIP singles — and finished with 3 walks and 7 strikeouts.
Joakim Soria pitched for the 2nd day in a row, and for the 2nd day in a row he was perfect. 12 of his 16 pitches went for strikes.
Joe Nathan recorded his 30th save in 31 chances, and is now just the 14th pitcher in Major League history to post 30 saves before the All Star Break. I know, saves are a really, really stupid statistic, and not every year do teams play 95 games before the ASB like in 2013, but it still seemed worth mentioning, nonetheless.
With 2 more games in Baltimore before heading to Detroit for a 4-game potential ALCS preview, the schedule isn’t doing the Rangers any favors heading into the vacation. Still trailing the Athletics by a half-game in the AL West, I wonder now what’s more important: continuing on a strong finish before the All Star Break, or just making it there with the roster still intact.