Rangers win streak ends at four.


At the beginning of the night the Rangers were looking at a 1.5 game lead in the west over the Oakland Athletics.  The Rangers were sending opening day starter Scott Feldman to the mound to face right handed Vin Mazzaro.  Mazzaro started in place of Justin Duchscherer who is suffering from a strained right hip.  Tonight’s start against the Rangers was Mazzaro’s debut to the 2010 season after sporting 4-9 record in 2009.

So far in 2010 he has pitched 3 innings in tonight’s start.  He gave up two hits, four runs, four walks with two strikeouts and one home run.  The home run was the key to the four earned runs he surrendered in the game tonight because it was a grand slam from the bat of Vladimir Guerrero.  The Rangers were down 5-0 before the grand slam, putting them within one run after it.

The grand slam was the major dent in his start at that point, but once the bases were cleared he got second baseman Ian Kinsler to strike out swinging and even returned to start the fourth inning.  He then surrendered a walk to David Murphy, which was his fourth walk surrendered in 3 plus innings essentially ending his night.

Oakland then called in reliever Craig Breslow to replace Mazzaro after the walk.  He then got Justin Smoak to pop out getting the first out of the inning.  In somewhat of a strange combination he picked off David Murphy at second base to get the second out of the inning.  Breslow threw the ball to first baseman Daric Barton who then threw the ball to shortstop Cliff Pennington who tagged Murphy for the out.  He then got catcher Matt Treanor to fly out ending the inning.

The fourth inning was a little rough for Feldman, to start the inning he gave up a walk to Cliff Pennington, then Daric Barton tripled scoring Pennington to put the Rangers down 6-4.  He then surrendered a single to Ryan Sweeney which scored Barton putting the Rangers down 7-4.  He then gave up another single to Kevin Kouzmanoff on a 1-1 count before retiring the next three batters on balls in the air.

Feldman stayed in the game pitching seven innings giving up 10 hits, 7 runs and 3 walks with only 4 strike outs giving him a 4.54 era for the season.  In five starts this season he has pitched 32 innings giving up 39 hits and 20 earned runs, he currently has a record of 1-3 for the season.  Even in his worst start of the season he pitched seven innings, so that either means the Rangers had faith in him to keep the game close or they are trying to rest the bullpen.  Reliver Chris Ray pitched the 8 inning getting three quick outs, before the Rangers did not score in the top of the 9th inning and the game was over.

The Athletics ended up using six pitchers total in the win, with the final line being 8 hits and six earned runs.  Reliver Brad Ziegler got the win with Jerry Blevins getting credit for the hold and Andrew Bailey getting credit for the save.  Bailey took over as the closer last season after Huston Street was traded to the Rockies for Matt Holliday.  Holliday did not even spend an entire season with the Athletics before being traded to the St. Louis Cardinals whom he resigned with once reaching free agency.

Valdimir Guerrero was the offense power for the Rangers tonight getting 5 out of the 6 rbi’s in the game.  The only other one coming off the bat of Josh Hamilton.  In the game Guerrero went 2 for 4 with 2 hits and the massive grand slam in the fourth to put the Rangers within reach of the game.  Unfortunately Feldman is not settled in for the season yet and giving up seven runs was a hill the Rangers offense could not overcome.  The Rangers are playing pretty good baseball, but Feldman definitely needs to show some of his 2009 magic.