Texas Rangers sweep ‘Stros in first series without Cole Hamels
By Travis Koch
The Texas Rangers are the first team to sweep the Houston Astros in 2018. Despite a disappointing season and the beginning of a rebuild, Texas remains a tough opponent.
Who says this team is a lost cause? After getting swept in four games in embarrassing fashion against the Oakland Athletics, the Texas Rangers rolled into Houston and swept the division leading Astros. Remarkably, the series was hardly competitive. Remarkably, the Rangers are the first team to sweep the Astros this season.
Entering the series with a 42-62 record, the Rangers took game one of the series 11-2, game two 7-3 and game three 4-3. Texas outhit the Astros 35 to 18, outhomered them 7 to 4 and outscored them 22 to 8. Texas beat Dallas Keuchel, Justin Verlander and Lance McCullers; Houston lost to Yovani Gallardo, Ariel Jurado, and Mike Minor.
Without a doubt, the Texas Rangers needed the confidence booster. They’ve reached the point in which the rebuilding process has begun. Members of the clubhouse first watched veteran Jesse Chavez get traded away and then watched long time ace, Cole Hamels, get traded away the day before their series in Houston. It was the first time in a while that the Rangers were watching guys leave to assist a rebuild instead of join to assist a playoff hunt.
After the ugly series against Oakland and the departure of Hamels, the thought was, “how much worse can things get with two months still remaining in the season?” The Rangers aren’t going to make some absurd run to the postseason and their likely outcome still aims towards last place in the American League West. With all that said, the team deserves some serious credit in their dismantling of the Houston Astros this past weekend.
Manager Jeff Banister always stresses relentlessness and a continuous competitive spirit. In a lost season, Rangers players have adhered to their Manager’s expectations. Pitchers are attacking the strike zone, hitters are making opposing pitchers work and baserunners are maintaining aggression on the base paths. Though a team with many holes, the Texas Rangers are no walkover for any opponent.
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Leadership remains a vital strength to the team, as does their winning expectation formed from recent seasons. At the end of the day, there is a reason Cole Hamels was sad to leave the Rangers and there is a reason Adrian Beltre wants to stay with the Rangers.
Shout-outs from the series sweep
Rougned Odor: 6-for-9, two home runs, two RBI, four runs scored (two games)
Isiah Kiner-Falefa: 6-for-14, two home runs, three RBI, three runs scored
Yovani Gallardo: 5.1 innings pitched, two hits allowed, five strikeouts, no earned runs
Mike Minor: 6.0 innings pitched, four hits allowed, eight strikeouts, two earned runs
Ariel Jurado: 6.0 innings pitched, two hits, one earned run
Monday, @ Arizona Diamondbacks
-8:40 PM CST first pitch
–Martin Perez (7.08 ERA) vs. Robbie Ray (4.90 ERA)
Tuesday, @ Arizona Diamondbacks
-8:40 PM CST first pitch
–Bartolo Colon (5.02 ERA) vs. Zack Godley (4.73 ERA)