The Rangers Are 22-13
By Eric Reining
– The Rangers trailed 2-1 when Nelson Cruz did this (Drew Sheppard). Damn.
– Tied 2-2 heading into the 7th inning, Jeff Baker scraped home run about 4 feet beyond the right-field wall, which gave the Rangers a lead they ultimately would not capitulate. David Murphy added a solo shot of his own in the 9th — off a left-hander, no less — and the game ended that way.
4-2, good guys.
– Alexi Ogando again displayed suspect command of all his pitches, walking a season-high 4 in 5.2 IP. This is the 6th time in 8 starts that Ogando has failed to make it into the 7th inning, and by the way he’s been trending, I’m beginning to wonder if it might be a better idea for Colby Lewis to occupy Alexi’s spot in the rotation than either of their rookies — Justin Grimm or Nick Tepesch. Oh, and Martin Perez is going to be healthy soon, too.
My general feeling on Alexi is that, although he may be more valuable (from a FIP-wins perspective) over the course of the season pitching out as of the rotation, he would certainly be more effective coming from the ‘pen.
– After back-to-back years posting a wRC+ north of 90, Elvis Andrus currently sits at .259/.298/.322 (62 wRC+). Yet, given age and prior success, I’m not all that concerned. I’m not convinced he’s much better offensively than what he’s already shown in 4 Major League seasons, but at the minimum I still expect him to make it there.
No, I don’t think he’s a .300 hitter; I don’t think he’ll ever post a .380 on-base%. But he will get hot this year, and he will hit more home runs than he did in 2011 (5). Bank on it.
In 2013 his 23.0% line-drive% is more or less consistent with his career mean output (21.7%), and he’s cut his fly-ball% down from 20.8% to 16.4%.
Basically, Elvis Andrus is not a different hitter by any stretch of the imagination; he’s just a more improved version of the average-ish offensive player he’s been since coming to the bigs. The results just haven’t smacked you in the face yet.
– Today Yu Darvish takes on the same lineup in the same ballpark where he nearly threw a perfect game earlier this year. If ever the Rangers would be favored to win a game, it would be Darvish taking on Erik Bedard and one of the worst offenses in baseball.
So, naturally, expect Houston to win 11-2.