Coming into Friday, the Rangers were dealt with some disappointing news when the team learned that Matt Harrison will be undergoing back surgery on Tuesday to repair a herniated disc, thusly relegating his return to after the All-Star break. It was an unfortunate blow to the rotation, however it appears that Colby Lewis is continuing to have a successful rehab and is on schedule to return to the team on June 1st. An effective Colby Lewis in the rotation would be huge, so that’s that. Now here are some observations on the Rangers’ sweep of the Mariners.
- In total for the series, the Rangers outscored the Mariners 23 to 3. Regardless of the competition and other factors, it was good to finally see the Rangers’ offense put together some good innings. We’ll see if this ends up carrying over to Anaheim.
- As of Friday, the A’s led the Rangers for 1st place in the AL West by 2.5 games. As of Sunday, the A’s have been swept by the Rays and the Rangers have swept the Mariners, meaning Texas now holds the division lead by 0.5 games.
- In the first game of the series, Yu Darvish got the win against the Mariners, pitching 7 shutout innings and allowing just 3 hits to go along with 10 strikeouts. It was evident early in the game that Darvish had little, if any command of his fastball, which seems to be a trend in all of Darvish’s starts sans the near-perfecto against Houston. It’s pretty remarkable that Darvish possesses such dominating secondary pitches that he is able to pitch deep into ballgames regardless of his fastball command. Interestingly enough, all three of Darvish’s wins this season have come after Ranger losses.
- On Saturday, the Rangers received a scare when Nick Tepesch was hit on the wrist by a line drive off of the bat of Jesús Montero with two outs in the second inning. Luckily enough, Tepesch appears to be ready to make his next start. In relief of Tepesch, whom had to leave the game, Derek Lowe delivered in surprising fashion with four hitless innings. Also, A.J. Pierzynski and David Murphy, whom have both been scuffling as of late, hit homers to support the cause.
- In the finale of the series, Justin Grimm made his second start of the season and delivered mightily, pitching 6 innings, surrendering just 6 hits and allowing just one earned run to go along with 9 strikeouts. Grimm’s curveball was the difference maker in the game, as Grimm exhibited plus command and break with the pitch. In support of Grimm, Leonys Martín hit his first career home run off of Seattle starter, Aaron Harang. As for Harang, he gave up a big home run in the bottom of the fourth to Mitch Moreland, which sailed to Greene’s Hill in center field. Harang later went on to load the bases in the fifth inning only to surrender a grand slam off of the bat of Nelson Cruz. In other words, it was not a good day for Harang.
- Not to pick on the guy or anything, but Justin Smoak had a dreadful series, going just 1-for-11 with 6 strikeouts. I know it’s still early in the season, but I think that any hope of Smoak’s bat finally developing is all but gone.