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Thoughts on an 8-3 win

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Rangers 8, Tigers 3

  • After a disappointing 6-2 loss in Friday's series opener, where the Rangers failed to capitalize on early opportunities to put up crooked numbers against Max Scherzer, and then Scott Feldman couldn't get the final out of the sixth, allowing a pair of weakly hit singles before giving up a two out, three run bomb to Prince Fielder that turned a 2-1 lead into a 4-2 deficit, Texas bounced back to win the series in impressive fashion. And after scoring only a pair of runs in each of the first two games of the series, the Ranger bats came alive today, pounding Rick Porcello and the Tiger bullpen for 8 runs on 11 hits and a pair of walks. The Rangers are now 9 games into a 20 game stretch where I said that, if they could go .500, they'd win the division. They are 6-3 in that stretch so far.
  • The Rangers are now 6.5 games up on Oakland, and are 8 games up on Anaheim. And because the Angels have played two more games than the Rangers, Texas is actually up 9 games on the Angels in the loss column.

  • Any pitcher would have had a hard time following Derek Holland's performance on Saturday, where, after a leadoff home run and a line drive single, Holland recorded 23 outs with just a single and a walk mixed in. Yu Darvish was very Yu Darvish on Sunday...shaky first inning that he escaped, then looked dominant, then allowed 3 runs in a 5th inning that could have been worse, and then pulled after issuing a pair of two out walks in the top of the 7th. There were moments of greatness, where Darvish made Tiger hitters look foolish, and there were moments where Darvish's command abandoned him. He ended up throwing 120 pitches over 6.2 IP, but only 68 of those pitches were strikes.
  • Robbie Ross was brought in for the third straight game to face Prince Fielder after Darvish walked Dirks and Cabrera in the 7th. Ross came in for just one batter yesterday -- Fielder -- and walked him, but he managed to get Fielder to pop out today. This was just the second time in his last eight outings that Ross did not walk a batter, and after being lights out for the first half of the season, Ross is showing signs of wearing down over the last couple of weeks. Ross has spent most of the season among the league leaders in relief innings, but Ron Washington seems to be using him in more of a specialist role of late, as the only game since the All Star Break in which Ross has gone more than an inning was in the Rangers' insane 11-10 comeback victory against Anaheim on July 30 August 1. Whether Ross being used in shorter outings is a result of trying to manage his workload, or a reaction to his lessened effectiveness of late, is an open question.
  • Insurance runs allowed Washington to use Michael Kirkman and Tanner Scheppers to close out the game, saving the key members of the bullpen for the series at Yankee Stadium that starts tomorrow. Mike Adams and Alexi Ogando only pitched in Saturday's game, and Roy Oswalt and Joe Nathan didn't pitch at all in this series. Nathan hasn't pitched since going in back-to-back games on August 7 and 8, and before that, hadn't pitched since going in back-to-back games on August 1 and 2.
  • Josh Hamilton continues to show he's back, blasting a 2 run homer to deep left-center in the first, and going 2-3 with a walk for the game, his other hit being a line drive single to right that plated Elvis Andrus and was hit hard enough that it caromed away from Brennan Boesch and allowed Hamilton to advance all the way to third. Whatever was plaguing Hamilton in June and July, he seems to be over it now.
  • Boesch's error capped a sloppy third for the Tigers. The scoring in the inning started when Mitch Moreland singled and then was plated by Ian Kinsler on a double to deep left-center, with Kinsler advancing to third on the throw home. Kinsler appeared to have been caught off third base by Rick Porcello when Elvis hit a hard hopper back to the mound, but Porcello threw the ball away, allowing Kinsler to score and Elvis to reach second, enabling him to score on the Hamilton single. Hamilton was stranded at third when Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz, and Michael Young each grounded out to Miguel Cabrera to turn a runner at third and no outs into a runner stranded at third, but the run ended up being moot.
  • The Pizza Run came home in sloppy fashion, as well...a one out Elvis single and a Hamilton walk set up runners at first and second. When the Rangers attempted a double steal, catcher Alex Avila allowed the ball to get away, and Elvis was able to score, with Hamilton advancing to third. Hamilton then came home on the second wild pitch of the at bat to give the Rangers their final 8-3 margin.
  • Every Ranger starter got a hit today other than Michael Young, who was 0 for 3 with an intentional walk. Mitch Moreland got a pair of hits, joining Elvis and Hamilton among Rangers with two hit days.