The Rangers’ started off this road trip with a win last night against the KC Royals. And even though the Rangers hit 4 home runs in the game (2 of them by Vlad Guerrero), it was actually a pretty close game. The final score was 8-7 Rangers.
Rich Harden took the mound for the Rangers against Gil Meche. These 2 pitchers last faced each other on May 8 in Arlington, and that was a close game as well that the Rangers won by one run.
Rich had another mediocre start, which is what we’ve all come to expect from him. He gave up 6 runs (5 earned) on 7 hits and 2 walks in 5 1/3 innings, throwing 104 pitches. The best thing about Harden was that 73 of those 104 pitches he threw were for strikes, so that’s impressive.
Rich didn’t get the Win because after he was taken out in the 5th inning, the Royals tied up the score 6-6. But he should be thanking the Rangers hitters that he ended up with a No Decision instead of a Loss.
Vlad hit his first home run of the night in the 1st inning, giving the Rangers an early 2-0 lead. But of course, Harden allowed 2 runs in the bottom of the 3rd to tie it up 2-2.
Josh Hamilton started off the 4th inning by hitting a solo shot really hard. The official measurement was 448 ft., but I think they may have shorted him. Seriously, that ball went really far. 3-2 Texas.
Nelson Cruz stepped up to the plate next and hit his 10th home run of the year (also a solo shot). 4-2 Texas.
Vlad hit his second home run in the 5th inning, and it was also a 2-run shot (like the first one). 6-2 Texas.
The Royals came back with 1 run in the bottom of the 5th to make it 6-3 and 3 runs in the bottom of the 6th to tie it up 6-6.
The Rangers got another 2 runs in the top of the 7th inning to make it 8-6, but the Royals got 1 run in the bottom of the frame to make it a too-close-for-comfort 8-7. The Rangers were able to hold on though, and it was another 1-run game.
Before I move on to today’s game, I would just like to point out that Vlad was responsible for half of the Rangers’ runs in last night’s game. Nice.
The game today was a day game, and the Rangers ended up losing 5-2. Feldman was the starting pitcher in this match-up, and he gave up 4 earned runs on 7 hits, 1 walk, and 2 hit batsmen in 6 2/3 innings, throwing 105 pitches.
It really wasn’t a bad start, and he’s definitely getting better, but he’s still not the Scott Feldman that Rangers’ fans came to love last year. He’s now 2-5 with a 5.84 ERA.
But he pitched 6 2/3 innings. That helped out the bullpen, as did a 1-inning relief stint by Derek Holland.
Derek normally wouldn’t appear out of the bullpen, but in his next start he’ll be pitching on 7 days rest, so Mike Maddux wanted him to get in a little bit of work against live batters in a game situation.
Derek gave up 2 hits and 1 earned run in his inning. I’m sure that’s not what he was going for, but it happened. It probably didn’t make much difference in the outcome of the game, since the Rangers were already losing by 2 runs when Derek came in the game. I just hope it was a good learning experience for Derek.
Luke Hochevar got the start for the Royals, and he just pitched better. He allowed 2 runs on 6 hits with no walks in 8 innings. The Royals closer Joakim Soria came in to pitch the top of the 9th to finish the game.
I think the Rangers must have been tired today, because they seemed a bit subdued. I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong; I didn’t get to watch the game. I just listened to it on the radio.
But after last night’s 4 home runs, I was secretly hoping for some more Rangers to go yard today. Unfortunately, the only home run was by the Royals’ Billy Butler. Jeez, that guy is good.
Justin Smoak got another hit today, after breaking his hitless streak in last night’s game. And he drove in an run while he was at it. Hopefully things are starting to turn around for him.
Next, they’ll have an off-day in Minnesota and face the Minnesota Twins for the first time in 2010. This will also be their first time playing in the newly-constructed Target Field. The Twins can’t have too much of a home-field advantage at this point, so maybe the Rangers can get something done.