Angels 5, Rangers 3
- When Matt Harrison is going well, he throws hard, locates his pitches, and gets ground balls. Tonight, Harrison got ground balls, but his velocity was off and his location was not good. Harrison managed to keep the Angels from running away with the game in the early going -- he only allowed 3 runs in 4.1 innings, despite 10 hits and 3 walks against 3 Ks -- but it wasn't a good outing by any means for Harrison. This was just his second major league start since early last season, and so that's something to take into account, but Harrison didn't have his good stuff today, and as Ron Washington said after the game, he had to battle the entire time he was out there.
- Shawn Tolleson came into the game with runners on second and third and one out in the fifth and escaped without allowing a run, keeping the score at the same 3-3 mark it was when Harrison left and Tolleson came in. Tolleson looked like he was going to skate through the sixth inning unscathed, as well, but a Howie Kendrick double and then a C.J. Cron weak single ended up bringing in the run that was the difference in the game.
- An insurance run scored off of Alexi Ogando, who appeared for the 17th time this season, and is now on pace for 92 appearances on the year. What's mystifying about the heavy reliance on Ogando early in the year is that Ogando hasn't pitched well...after allowing a run in his one inning of work today, Ogando now has a 6.32 ERA. Ogando was off again today, and the Rangers really need Tanner Scheppers to get healthy. Keep an eye on Matt West, who was promoted from AA to AAA today, and who could get a look as a late inning option in the bullpen before too long.
- The offense was its usually middling self, picking up 10 hits, but only one extra base hit, a double by Robinson Chirinos. Elvis Andrus had a disastrous game at the plate, going 0 for 5 with 3 Ks, and ending the game on a double play grounder. Elvis looks completely out of sync at the plate...after taking a Garrett Richards breaking ball for a strike in one at bat today, he then chased two sliders nowhere near the strike zone to fan. Those are the types of pitches Elvis lays off normally, and that flailing K epitomizes the awful slump he's been in the past few weeks.
- Adrian Beltre and Prince Fielder weren't much better today, with Beltre going 0 for 4 with a K. Fielder had a hard hit single, but it was his only time on base in four plate appearances. If the 2-3-4 spots are going to do nothing offensively, its going to be hard for the Rangers to score runs.
- On the plus side, Robinson Chirinos, Donnie Murphy, and Alex Rios all had two hits apiece, and Shin-Soo Choo went 2 for 3 with 2 walks. Choo has been a lifesaver early this season, getting on base and keeping the offense afloat despite the struggles of other key contributors.
- The Rangers have Yu Darvish going tomorrow against lefty Tyler Skaggs, with the opportunity to take the series with a win. Oakland lost again to Boston, so the Rangers are still just 2 games back, despite all the problems.