The Rangers and the Astros met for the second time in this young season for a three-game series in Houston. Texas, pulled out a series win with back-to-back wins to finish off the season.
The Rangers picked up their first series win of the season this weekend taking two out of three against the Houston Astros. Texas did this on the heels of two extra innings wins that saw them move to 6-11 on the year, 7.5 games back of the Los Angeles Angels.
Here are our three takeaways from the weekend series.
Big Sexy Does Big Things
Bartolo Colon got the start in Sunday’s rubber match in place of the injured Doug Fister. Colon, a free agent addition this offseason, was expected to split time between the bullpen and the rotation. The 44-year old righty was handed to ball against the divisional opponent Houston and pitched an absolute gem. In what was the consummate pitcher’s duel, Houston ace, Justin Verlander, went 8 innings allowing just one hit, a solo homerun off the bat of Robinson Chirinos. Not to be outdone, Bartolo dazzled on the mound, throwing 7 perfect innings. At 44 years and 326 days, Colon is the oldest pitcher to carry a no-hitter into the 8th inning according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
Colon has now appeared in four games for the Rangers two of which were starts. In his 18.2 innings of work, Bartolo has been dominant posting a 1.45 ERA, walking 2 and recording 17 strikeouts.
Lineup Shuffling Could Be Beneficial
With a number of injuries facing the Rangers right now, Jeff Banister has been forced to deviate from his initial plans defensively. With both Rougned Odor and Elvis Andrus out with injuries the Rangers have turned to utility man Jurickson Profar and youngster, Isiah Kiner-Falefa to fill the holes. Additionally, Joey Gallo, who started the year as the go-to first baseman made two starts in left against the Astros with Ronald Guzman being called up to play first. Guzman, ranked as the Rangers number 8 prospect entering the year according the MLB.com 2018 Prospect Watch, has looked comfortable at the big league level going 4-12 at the plate and playing solid at first. These call-ups and defensive adjustments look to possibly give some young players extended time in the lineup and give fans their first real look at the Rangers future.
The Bullpen is an Asset?
After a dismal season in relief in 2017, the Texas Rangers bullpen looks new and improved early on in the 2018 season. Against the Astros, the relievers looked dominant in three close games. Following an unearned run off of Kevin Jepsen in game one, the Texas bullpen threw eight straight scoreless innings including two games that made it to extra innings. This trend is one the Rangers will hope to continue as we get later into the season.
Texas will open up an away series Monday against the Tampa Bay Rays. Perez, Moore and Hamels are expected to get the starts for the Rangers.