Rangers 5, Mariners 0
- That was the 4th shutout of the season for the Rangers, out of 14 games. The Rangers are 3-7 when allowing at least one run to score, and 4-0 (of course) in the shutouts.
- Robbie Ross now has a 1.00 ERA in 18 innings over three starts this season. In 7.2 innings today, he allowed no walks (though 2 HBPs) and just 5 hits. Ross struck out just a pair of batters, but he got a ton of ground balls and worked efficiently, before being lifted with a runner on and two outs in the 8th so that Alexi Ogando could face righthanded slugger Corey Hart.
- While Ross came up in the minor league system as a starter, there were a lot of folks who questioned whether he had the repertoire to be a starter in the majors, whether he was going to be limited to a bullpen role. Its just been three starts so far, but Ross has displayed, so far, the aptitude to be a major league starting pitcher. Matt Harrison is a little over a week away from being activated from the disabled list, and either Ross or Tanner Scheppers will have to go to the bullpen (barring an injury) to make room for Harrison in the rotation. At this point, Ross clearly has the inside track on staying in the rotation.
- Prince Fielder had a Three True Outcomes night, as he hit his first home run of the season, was intentionally walked, and fanned twice. Its good to get Prince off the schneid, as far as home runs go, and hopefully he can build on this.
- While Prince hit his first homer of the season and gave the Rangers a lead they never relinquished, Kevin Kouzmanoff was the offensive story for Texas today. Kouzmanoff followed Prince's homer with a bomb of his own off of Blake Beavan, doubled to left field to lead off the seventh inning (and then was bunted over to third base by Mitch Moreland, only to be stranded there), and then had a two run double in the 9th inning to bring home Elvis Andrus and Prince Fielder and give the Rangers a couple of key insurance runs. Kouzmanoff had an impressive spring training, but didn't get a chance in the majors until Adrian Beltre's injury resulted in an opening for him. Kouzmanoff is getting a chance to show he can be this year's Jeff Baker.
- The other hitters with two-hit games were Elvis Andrus, who had a single and a double (as well as a GIDP and a caught stealing, so he was on-base neutral on the night, really), as well as Mitch Moreland, who had a pair of singles -- including an RBI single that drove home Kouzmanoff in the 9th -- as well as his sac bunt.
- The Moreland sac bunt was an interesting situation...the big shift was on, though with Kouzmanoff on second, Kyle Seager was playing more towards third base. Moreland squared early and did a pretty basic bunt down the third base line, and with Seager charging and the shift on, there was no one to cover third, meaning the only play was at first. It appeared to be a called sac bunt, but I am curious as to whether Moreland will try bunting against the shift more often going forward.
- After the Moreland sac bunt, the M's, who had lefty Joe Beimel on the mound, intentionally walked Donnie Murphy to bring Leonys Martin to the plate. Wash, to my surprise, turned to pinch hitter Michael Choice. Choice, unfortunately, fanned on three pitches, but the move was striking to me because Leonys is clearly the team's best defensive outfielder (and only "true" center fielder), and it seemed out of character for Wash to make a move, while up 2 runs, to pinch hit for a quality defender in order to get a platoon advantage. It didn't work out, but it also didn't cost the team.
- Yu v. Felix tomorrow, y'all.