May 25, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers left fielder David Murphy (7) gets congratulated by catcher Yorvit Torrealba (right) and third baseman Adrian Beltre (29) after scoring a run against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-US PRESSWIRE
Rangers 14, Toronto 3
- When Derek Holland is on, he's as good as any pitcher in baseball. Tonight, Holland was on from the get-go, striking out the side in the first inning on 13 pitches, and continuing to click through 7.1 innings, striking out 9, walking 1, and allowing five hits, with the lone run he allowed while in the game scoring on an Edwin Encarnacion home run (the second run allowed by Holland came when Mark Lowe allowed an inherited runner to score). Tonight we saw the Holland that can take over a game, and while the Ranger offense made sure Texas didn't need a dominant performance from its starter, it was nice to see nonetheless.
- Mark Lowe could have pitched better. But hey, it was a 14-1 game when he came in. Yoshinori Tateyama, who pitched the 9th, was solid.
- Brandon Morrow came into tonight's game with a 2.63 ERA. After .2 inning and 6 runs allowed, he is now sporting a 3.47 ERA.
- Exhibit 1382 in "why errors and fielding percentage are misleading"...in the top of the fourth, J.P. Arencibia scorched a ball down the third base line for what appeared to be a sure double. Adrian Beltre made a great play going towards the line to flag the ball down, but when he threw to first, his throw pulled Michael Young off the bag, and Arencibia was safe. Beltre was given an error on the play. Now, in reality, Beltre made a play most third basemen don't make, and ended up saving his team an extra base on the play...but as far as errors and fielding percentage go, Beltre's play was a black mark on his record.
- Speaking of fielding, Nelson Cruz ended the second inning by making an incredible catch in right, sticking up his glove while running straight back towards the fence and snagging the ball out of the air...definitively the defensive play of the night.
- The Blue Jays pitchers were at 182 pitches through 7 innings, with Ryota Igarashi needing 41 pitches to get through 1 inning and Jason Frasor 31 pitches to get through an inning. Toronto may have to make a roster move to get a fresh arm in the pen for tomorrow, thus letting the Rangers pad their major league leading "most roster moves opponents were forced to make to get fresh arms in the bullpen" total.
- Oh, and Jeff Mathis pitched. Sadly, Mike Napoli, who was under the weather, didn't get to face him.
- Huge game for Nelson Cruz, who was 0 for his last 9 and 5 for his last 27 with a 703 OPS coming into the game. Cruz was 4 for 5 with a double, a grand slam, and 8 RBIs, raising his OPS on the year to 749 and looking a lot more like the Nelson Cruz that we've been accustomed to before 2012 than the one we've seen so far this year. The home run, in particular, was a thing of beauty, an opposite field upper-deck 400+ foot blast. There have been some false alarms, where we've thought Cruz was coming out of it only to see him continue to struggle, but this has to give some cause for optimism.
- Josh Hamilton also had a mammoth upper-deck home run, in the second inning off of Carlos Villanueva, to go with a walk in a 1 for 3 night. Hamilton, who looked uncomfortable at the plate and on the bases in his final at bat, is apparently dealing with a respiratory infection and was lifted late in the game for Craig Gentry.
- Every starter got on base at least twice tonight, as the team banged out 18 hits and drew 7 walks...this is the third time this season the Rangers have gotten on base at least 25 times in a game. Not surprisingly, they are 3-0 when doing so this year. David Murphy and Elvis Andrus were the only starters to be hitless, but Elvis walked 3 times and Murphy walked twice.
- Mitch Moreland continues to hit, going 3 for 5 with a double and raising his average on the season to .292. After starting off the season so slowly that his job seemed like it might be in jeopardy, Mitch has caught fire, and quieted the rumblings of shopping for a new first baseman in the trade market.
- Also with big nights were the slumping Michael Young and Yorvit Torrealba. Young was 3 for 5, while Torrealba had a single and his first homer of the year.
- Looking at games where the Rangers had a lot of baserunners led me to stumble across this game from 2008, also against Toronto, where the Rangers had 18 hits and 9 walks but only scored 7 runs, leaving 19 runners on base. While that game was just four years ago, reading the box score, it feels much longer ago...we have Kason Gabbard starting, Wes Littleton and Franklyn German pitching in relief, Dustin Nippert getting the win, C.J. Wilson getting the save, home runs from Frank Catalanotto and Jason Botts, Adam Melhuse playing some third base...craziness.