Thoughts on a 4-3 Texas victory

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 15: Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers slides into a tag by Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins during the sixth inning on April 15, 2012 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Minnesota Twins and the Texas Rangers wore the number 42 to honor Jackie Robinson. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Rangers 4, Twins 3

  • Hey, it was a sweep! On the road, even! Granted, Minnesota doesn't look like a very good team, but regardless, it isn't easy to win on the road.
  • Neftali Feliz today looked a lot more like the Neftali Feliz I think we were all expecting to see this year than the Neftali Feliz from Feliz's last start. It isn't that Feliz was bad -- he pitched well, overall. But Feliz didn't have his changeup working, relied heavily on his fastball, and ran out of gas in the sixth inning, ultimately getting pulled after allowing three baserunners and recording no outs in the sixth.
  • For the second day in a row, Robbie Ross came into the game in the bottom of the sixth to face Justin Morneau with runners on, immediately following a Joe Mauer walk. Yesterday, it was with two outs and the bases loaded. Today, it was with two on and no one out. Both times, Ross did his job in fine fashion and picked up the win. On this afternoon, that meant two shutout innings with three Ks, walking no one and allowing one hit. It is early, but this is an awfully impressive start for a pitcher who many didn't consider one of the top 10 prospects in the system, and who was expected to start the year in AA.
  • The Rangers were 1-9 at Target Field before this series started. They are now 4-9 at Target Field. Progress.
  • Every starter today got a hit except for Ian Kinsler, who was 0 for 4 with a walk, and David Murphy, who was 0 for 3 with a HBP. Murphy is now 0 for his last 13. Kinsler is 1 for his last 14.
  • Mike Adams appeared for the 7th time in the first 10 games of the season, and Joe Nathan appeared for the 6th time. Nathan's solid 1-2-3 9th after pitching last night shows that he can bounce back on the back-end of back-to-backs, but it remains to be seen whether he'll be able to turn in those sorts of performances often enough to make it worth using him, rather than Adams or Alexi Ogando, in the 9th inning when he's pitched the night before.
  • Mark Lowe, Koji Uehara, Scott Feldman, and Robbie Ross have combined for 7 appearances so far this season.
  • Denard Span was 6 for 13 with 3 doubles and a triple in this series. Maybe he's auditioning for that Span-for-Martin Perez trade that Jim Bowden proposed over the offseason?
  • In the pair of day games this weekend, Josh Hamilton was 5 for 9 with 2 doubles and 2 home runs. Maybe because Minnesota is at a greater degree of longitude, the light hits Hamilton's eyes at an angle where having blue eyes isn't so much of a problem in the day time.
  • The Rangers drew three walks in this series -- one apiece by Kinsler, Adrian Beltre, and Elvis Andrus. Josh Hamilton still has not drawn a walk this year.
  • The Angels have Jerome Williams going against Ivan Nova in New York tonight on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. If the Angels lose -- and they are the underdogs tonight -- they'll be 4.5 games back of Texas. That has to be a bit of a buzzkill, to start the season so far back after spending all that money on Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson.
  • Craig Gentry, entering the game for defensive purposes in the 8th, now has 9 games played and 6 at bats. Expect that number to even out a little more on Tuesday, though...with the BoSox starting lefty Jon Lester, Gentry will likely get the start in centerfield. I wouldn't be surprised if Brandon Snyder starts on Tuesday against the lefty, as well, particularly with Mitch Moreland dealing with an abscessed tooth that may have him returning to Dallas on Monday's off-day to see a dentist.
  • Elvis Andrus had a huge hit day, a line drive triple in the gap in right-center that brought Ian Kinsler home in the top of the 7th and cut the lead to 3-2, setting the stage for Josh Hamilton's mammoth, game-winning home run. Elvis isn't getting on base the way we expect him to, but the added bulk that was much talked about this spring does seem to have him driving the ball more, and if he keeps hitting the ball with authority, we could see him get his slugging percentage this season up above the .400 mark -- quite an accomplishment for a guy who slugged .301 two years ago.
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