After the fourth inning, it felt like deja vu. The Rangers had fallen behind and I was planning writing how the bats were lost without Josh Hamilton who Ron Washington now says will miss the entire weekend series. I fully expected Yu Darvish to start giving up a lot of runs and the Astros putting the game out of reach and I would lament how I had to write another recap on a lopsided loss.
But then something strange happened. Mike didn’t leave me with a bad game to recap*. Yu shut the Astros down in the fifth and then the Rangers took advantage of a couple of Astro miscues to plate five in the same inning and Darvish was unbelievable and actually got better as the game went on. His 11 strikeouts were a Major League high, and all the memories of his last start against the Athletics all but forgotten.
*I’m not actually bitter. He has to recap a lot more bad games than I do.
The important thing for Darvish is really to trust his stuff. He can throw it for strikes and get hitters out. His two walks matched his season low that he had three other times this season. Those three starts were the wins against Oakland, Toronto and his coming out party against the Yankees.
This was the Rangers template for victory. Get very good pitching, have the offense explode and pull away then close the door. That was missing a lot in May and the beginning of June, but it’s starting to come back slowly but surely. It was there in a pair of 5-0 wins over the San Francisco Giants, was there in two different forms in the two wins against the Arizona Diamondbacks. This game had a slow start but in the end, it worked out for the Rangers as they gave Darvish the support he needed while he was holding Houston in check.
It is a good start to the series for the Rangers who send rookie Justin Grimm to the hill tomorrow against Lucas Harrell for the Astros in turn back the clock/80’s night. It was a good decade for the Astros, and not so much for the Rangers. We’ll see how some things change, hopefully.
- Leonys Martin was 0-3 in his season debut with a walk in his first at bat after what must have been a whirlwind with him getting recalled just hours before the game.
- Justin Maxwell was put on waivers by the Yankees shortly after Spring Training and I expect multiple teams put claims in for him. The Astros had first dibs on him and have to be happy with the play they are getting from him. Maxwell who came up with the Nationals is getting his first extended chance and is showing he belongs in the Majors.
- I don’t really like Yorvit Torrealba. He’s struggling at the plate lately, and while many backup catchers struggle at the plate, Torrealba is not your average backup. He plays often because Mike Napoli plays between catcher and first base and he may be the weakest point in the Rangers offense on most nights. I don’t know if there are many options out there that are better, but he needs to start turning his fortunes around.