Rays 5, Rangers 4
- Solid outing for Nick Martinez. He had some issues leaving his pitches up in the zone, and both homers he allowed were on pitches he didn't locate well, but overall, you couldn't have asked for much more from a guy who spent most of last season in high-A ball. Martinez's final line was 6 innings, 4 hits (2 homers), 3 runs allowed, 3 Ks and 3 walks. Martinez will be optioned to AA Frisco tomorrow so Yu Darvish can be activated from the disabled list, but this was a nice outing for him in his major league debut, and he's someone the Rangers clearly will have on their radar if they need a spot starter later in the season.
- The bottom of the 7th inning was the Elvis Andrus show. After a broken bat single from Matt Joyce off of Jason Frasor to start the inning, pinch hitter Logan Forsythe had a bloop into the left-center field gap for a hit. Shin-Soo Choo threw towards third, but Elvis cut the ball off and made a sharp throw to second base to cut down Forsythe trying to advance. Then, with the infield in, Elvis made a nice play on a Yunel Escobar chopper that easily could have gotten through the infield, held Joyce at third base, and got Escobar at first. Finally, after David DeJesus was given new life when Michael Choice lost a foul pop in the roof that should have been caught, DeJesus hit a slow roller in the infield that looked like it was going to be a run-scoring RBI infield hit. Elvis charged the ball in a Beltre-like fashion, bare-handed it and threw in one motion to nab DeJesus by a step. Terrific inning from Andrus, who also, by the way, had three hits today, with a run scored and an RBI.
- Neal Cotts allowed two runs in a game twice last season -- once on July 4, once on August 16, both at home against the Mariners. He's already halfway to that mark a week into 2014, allowing a pair of runs tonight in the 8th inning to give the Rays a 5-4 lead. Leadoff walk, sac bunt, intentional walk, James Loney double resulted in a blown save. Cotts didn't look sharp today, as the Loney pitch was up and out over the plate, and the leadoff walk was a leadoff walk. This was, however, a situation where you wonder if missing Tanner Scheppers from the bullpen was an issue...with three righthanders due up to start the inning, you'd think that Scheppers would have come out for the 8th instead of Cotts, if he were available. But he wasn't, and Alexi Ogando isn't inspiring confidence, so Wash turned to Cotts.
- Four runs against a pitcher like David Price is not something to complain about...that said, the offense was fairly lifeless today, overall. The #9, #1 and #2 hitters -- Josh Wilson, Shin-Soo Choo and Elvis Andrus -- were 8 for 11 today. The rest of the lineup was 1 for 23, and nobody drew a walk.
- It is early, it is only 5 games, but Prince Fielder isn't doing much to suggest that last season's off year was an aberration. 4 for 20 on the year, with 2 walks and 1 XBH (a double). I don't want to overreact -- as I said, its early -- but still...
- Yu Darvish v. Alex Cobb tomorrow, as the Rangers try to get back to .500 and avoid the sweep.