Rangers Drop Two of Three in Seattle, Continue Road Trip in Minnesota
By Josh McSwain
This weekend the Rangers started their road trip with a three game set in Seattle, a team they had struggled with through their first two series against them this season. Things didn’t get much better as the Rangers only took one of three in the Emerald City.
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All three were close games, with the first being a 4-3 win for the Mariners. The Rangers got up 2-0 in the second and then 3-1 in the fourth, but they could not hold on to the lead as the hosts scored three unanswered runs to get the 4-3 win. The second game looks lopsided, but the Rangers just went off in the top of the 11th as they scored eight runs en route to an 11-3 win. The game very much hung in the balance in the bottom of the tenth as the Mariners had the bases loaded with two outs and Shawn Tolleson continued his brilliant season with a strikeout to get the Rangers out of the jam and saw the offense do the rest. King Felix came out for the Mariners in the rubber match, and did his thing as he got his AL-best 14th win. Nelson Cruz hit another homer, and is now tied with Mike Trout for the most in the majors with 33. Felix kept the Rangers from taking advantage of scoring opportunities, as Texas went zero for eight with runners in scoring position.
Cole Hamels allowed three solo homeruns in the series opener, with Mark Trumbo, Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano all going deep. Through his first two starts, Hamels has allowed five long balls, surprisingly all solo shots. While I wrote about the softer schedule this month, the Rangers are now just 2-7 against the Mariners this season.
The good news is that the Rangers head to Minnesota, to face the Twins who are fading fast. They are just 2-8 in their last 10 and have only won six games of their 22 games since the All-Star Break. They entered the break at 49-40 and appeared to be in solid position for a wild card spot, but now they are one game under .500 at 55-56. The Twins came to Arlington in June and Texas took two of three—winning the first two both by four runs and then dropping a 4-3 game in the finale.
An interesting schedule anomaly has occurred for the Rangers—they have a day off on Monday before starting their three game series at Target Field. It is the second day off for the Rangers in five days. The Rangers only have three more off-days after Monday the rest of the season—August 24, September 3 and September 21.
Jul 2, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo (49) pitches during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Yovani Gallardo will start the series opener against Kyle Gibson. Gallardo has not pitched well in his last few starts, with a 1-3 mark and 5.45 ERA, but he did win his last start—a 4-3 win over the Astros in which he allowed just four hits and three runs. Nick Martinez will square off against Mike Pelfrey in game two. Martinez has allowed just three runs in his last two starts, wins over the Giants and Astros. It’s been over two months since Pelfrey got a win—with his last one coming June 7 against the Brewers. Finally Hamels will go against Ervin Santana in the series finale. Hamels has been erratic at best over his first two starts in Texas—making some good pitches but allowing a handful of long balls. Hopefully he can get into a groove before too long. Santana has seen his ERA more than double in his last three starts—going from 2.60 to 5.40. He allowed six earned runs against the Pirates and eight, all earned, against the Indians in his last start.
Needless to say, this is a crucial series for both teams.