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Thoughts on a 5-0 win

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Rangers 5, Giants 0

  • Baseball is a weird game. The Rangers have a legitimate claim to being the best team in baseball this season. However, they've had a losing record over the last six weeks or so, are 2-5 on their current road trip, and yesterday just finished an ugly and demoralizing series in Oakland that saw them drop 3 of 4. Yet today, out of the blue, they go back to looking like the best team in baseball. Ian Kinsler hit the 2nd pitch of the game out of the park, Matt Harrison throws a shutout, and the game never seems to be in doubt. Its weird.
  • With this win, the Rangers are now 1-11 in San Francisco, lifetime.
  • Matt Harrison was terrific tonight, striking out four batters, allowing just 5 hits while walking none and allowing no hits, picking up his first complete game shutout since 2009. Someone who didn't watch the game might look at the box score and say, Harrison wasn't that good...just 5 Ks isn't that much, after all. But Harrison got 16 ground ball outs, had more infield singles allowed than "normal" hits, and was in control throughout the game. Harrison needed just 111 pitches (77 strikes) to cruise through 9 innings.
  • Another critical aspect of Harrison's performance...the Ranger bullpen was used for a significant amount of innings in the Oakland series, and the Rangers have two guys who are normally relievers, Scott Feldman and Alexi Ogando, going the next two days. The Rangers were in dire need of Harrison giving the team innings and allowing them to rest the relievers so that they can have all hands on deck on Saturday and Sunday, since the Rangers are looking at five innings apiece from Feldman and Ogando being a likely best case scenario. Harrison more than delivered for the team tonight, and the Ranger pen will be fresh tomorrow.

  • The Rangers scored 5 runs against the Giants, but it could have been a lot more than that. Texas had 20 baserunners on the game, with 14 hits, 5 walks, and an error, and actually had three doubles and a pair of home runs. Given the number of baserunners the Rangers had, you'd have expected more than five runs, but Texas wasn't great with runners in scoring position, ultimately leaving 13 men on base tonight. Still, you'll take five runs...
  • Matt Harrison had 5 plate appearances today, and according to the Twitterati, this was the first time in Rangers history a Ranger pitcher has had 5 plate appearances in a game. He was 0 for 3 with a pair of sacrifices.
  • Craig Gentry was the offensive story of the game, as he went 5 for 5 with 5 singles. The question was posed in the Game Day Thread: is Gentry the most unlikely Ranger to have a 5 hit night? He's at least in the conversation...the other unlikely 5 hit players in the mix are Esteban German, Eric Young, Cecil Espy, Geno Petralli, Tom Paciorek, Bobby Jones, Cesar Tovar, Lenny Randle, and Vic Harris.
  • Every Ranger had a hit tonight, with Kinsler and Michael Young joining Craig Gentry with multi-hit games. Nelson Cruz also looked good at the plate tonight, going 1 for 3 with a pair of walks, and Josh Hamilton hit his 22nd home run on the season.
  • Something that Joey Matches tweeted that I had wondered about as well...why did it seem like Michael Young was coming off the first base bag so quickly on throws to first base? There were several times where I was thinking the runner might be called safe because his foot was off the bag so quick.
  • The defensive play of the game came when Gregor Blanco hit a two-out grounder up the middle that Elvis Andrus snagged behind the second base bag. He tried to flip the ball to Ian Kinsler at second with his glove, but couldn't really get it out, meaning that Barry Zito (who was at first base when he bunted in to a fielder's choice the play before) was able to slide safely into second base. Zito, however, over-slid the bag, and Kinsler was able to grab the ball and put the tag down in time to get Zito before he could return to second, ending the inning and snuffing out a potential two-out rally.