ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 13: Elvis Andrus #1 of the Texas Rangers rounds 3rd base and beats the tag at home of Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim catcher Bobby Wilson on May 13, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Layne Murdoch/Getty Images)
Rangers 13, Angels 6
- The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are now 8 games out of first place in the A.L. West. The second place Oakland A's are 5 games out of first place.
- Hope you are hungry for Papa John's again tomorrow.
- One of the remarkable things about this team, this season, is how quickly they seemed to have been anointed the best team in baseball. Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser, and Terry Francona spent the broadcast giving the organization a tongue bath. Throughout the evening, my Twitter timeline was filled with baseball writers marveling at how good this team is. Buster Olney invoked the 1998 Yankees -- the team that won 114 games in the regular season and lost just 2 games in the playoffs -- in talking about the Rangers on Twitter. Fans shouldn't complain about not getting enough respect...the Rangers are getting an amount of respect from the national media that is almost frightening. The only thing in my sporting memory that compares was when the early-90s Cowboys were being lionized as the model franchise, a young team that would be dominant for years to come. We just have to hope that Nolan Ryan doesn't go on an ego trip and fire Jon Daniels.
- The Rangers are on pace to win 106 games this year.
- Jered Weaver singing along to "Hit the Road Jack" (which Chuck Morgan was playing over the p.a. system) as he left the game in the middle of the fourth inning was one of the weirder (in a good way) moments of the season.
- Neftali Feliz, seemingly the weakest link in the Rangers starting rotation, had another solid, workmanlike outing. Other than a walk-homer sequence in the second inning, he was under control and virtually never in trouble, going 6 innings, walking 2, striking out 5, and allowing the only two runs on his ledger on the Mark Trumbo home run that followed the Kendrys Morales walk. Feliz now has a 3.32 ERA on the season.
- Mark Lowe had his first bad outing of the season, giving up 5 hits (including a Vernon Wells homer), a walk and three runs in .2 of an inning, after coming into the game in the 7th to protect a 10-2 lead. Lowe was pulled with the bases loaded and two outs in the 7th, with none of the baserunners ultimately coming around to score. Lowe's ERA on the season jumped from 0.77 to 2.92
- The two outs Lowe recorded were both on strikeouts. Thus, he had a 1.000 BABIP allowed, with all four balls in play going for hits.
- Koji Uehara continues to handle his business. He got the final out of the 7th on a fielder's choice, then pitched a scoreless 8th, dropping his ERA on the season to 1.46. Uehara hasn't allowed a run since the first game of the doubleheader in Detroit, the game where the Rangers won 10-4 and Adrian Beltre hurt himself on the basepaths. Uehara has allowed two runs all season -- one on a Miguel Cabrera home run, one on an Adrian Gonzalez home run.
- Speaking of the fielder's choice to end the 7th...if you didn't see the game, go find a clip of that play. Off the bat, the ball -- a hard hit grounder up the middle, just to the shortstop side of the mound -- seemed destined to be a two-RBI single for Howie Kendrick. Elvis Andrus, however, swooped in behind the bag, fielded the ball, and scooped it in one motion to Ian Kinsler to record the force out on Mark Trumbo. It was an incredibly smooth and athletic play, but a play that Elvis made look simple, and came at a critical time, when the difference between an out and a hit was the difference between the Rangers getting out of the inning up five and the Rangers being up three with the tying run coming to the plate.
- Elvis continues to be red-hot with the bat, going 4 for 5 and lifting his OPS on the season to 835. To put that into perspective, Ian Kinsler -- who was one of the five to ten best players in the American League last year -- had an 832 OPS in 2011. If Elvis hits like this all season, he's a legitimate MVP candidate (non-Josh Hamilton division).
- Elvis's theatrics notwithstanding, Nelson Cruz was the true hero of the night. Cruz went four for five with a pair of singles, a double, and a grand slam home run, the slam coming with two out in the 3rd inning off of Weaver, and turning what was a 2-2 tie into a 6-2 Ranger lead. We've talked for the past few days about how it looks like Cruz may be breaking out of his slump...well, a week ago today, Cruz had a 593 OPS on the year. Right now, Cruz has an OPS north of 700.
- Every Ranger starter tonight had at least one hit, with the exception of David Murphy. Ian Kinsler, Mike Napoli, Josh Hamilton and Mitch Moreland all had multi-hit games, although Hamilton showed he was mortal after all by not homering tonight.