Thoughts on a 5-3 win

August 3, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Texas Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz (17) comes around third to score against the Kansas City Royals during the fourth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE

Rangers 5, Royals 3

  • The Rangers are now 62-43, and are tied with the Yankees for the best record in the American League. That's pretty good.
  • This game kicked off a stretch of 16 games where the Rangers play 13 on the road, and the 3 home games are against the Tigers. While the Royals aren't good, the other 10 road games are at Boston, at the Yankees, and at Toronto. This is the toughest stretch of the Rangers' schedule, and if they can get through this 16 game stretch with an 8-8 record, I think they win the A.L. West.
  • Matt Harrison was very Matt Harrison-y today. He struggled early, walking three batters in the first three innings of the game, and I had concerns about whether we would be seeing another early exit from a starter. But Harrison settled down and found a groove, cruising in the middle innings before giving way to Tanner Scheppers with two outs in the 7th. He only struck out three batters to go with the three walks, but Harrison allowed just 2 runs, and is now sitting on a 3.17 ERA for the season.

  • This was one of those games where, if we were on the other side of things, we'd be bemoaning the missed opportunities. Kansas City had 14 baserunners, compared to 11 for the Rangers, and had chances for big innings, but ended up stranding 9 runners in the game, compared to 3 for the Rangers.
  • Joe Nathan was unavailable tonight, and apparently may be unavailable tomorrow, after throwing 29 pitches last night and 33 pitches the night before. Why Nathan pitched yesterday in a 7 run game, putting the Rangers in a situation where he wasn't available tonight, is a question I don't have an answer for.
  • I'm getting concerned about Mike Adams.
  • Every starter for Texas had exactly one hit for the Rangers tonight, other than Geovany Soto and Nelson Cruz, who went hitless. The biggest hit came in the top of the 7th, when Ron Washington made the rather curious decision to let both David Murphy and Mitch Moreland hit against lefty reliever Jose Mijares. Murphy hitting was particularly surprising, since 1) Mijares had just been brought into the game, meaning that if the Rangers went to one of the three righty bench bats available (Mike Olt, Mike Napoli, Craig Gentry), Ned Yost couldn't bring a righty in, and 2) Gentry was likely going to end up replacing Murphy for defensive purposes at some point anyway. Murphy flew out, though he made good contact, and after Soto walked, Moreland was allowed to face Mijares, and blasted a home run that gave the Rangers a comfortable 5-2 lead.
  • I tweeted that I was baffled by the decision to leave Murphy in to face Mijares, and then after Moreland homered, I got some responses along the lines of "trust the gut." However, I do think that leaving Moreland in to face Mijares makes more sense than leaving Murphy in. As I noted above, if you send a righty in to hit for Murphy, Mijares has to face that batter; if Moreland is pinch hit for, the Royals would have brought in righty Louis Coleman, negating the platoon advantage. In addition, Moreland is your best defensive first baseman, and given that you already had a 3-2 lead, I think there's an argument to be made that the offensive upgrade isn't worth the defensive downgrade.
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