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Thoughts on a 4-2 win

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Rangers 4, Royals 2

  • The Rangers are now on a four game winning streak, and with the A's losing to the Blue Jays in extra innings (after closer Ryan Cook gave up a game-tying home run in the top of the 9th), the lead in the A.L. West is up to 5.5 games. And with the Yankees losing, the Rangers now have the best record in the A.L.
  • So, right this very moment, Scott Feldman is the starting pitcher we have the most confidence in, right? We really saw this coming a couple of months ago, when Feldman was pitching so poorly that some were questioning whether he'd even stay on the 25 man roster when Roy Oswalt was ready to join the team. Now Feldman has dropped his ERA down to 4.52, and today's performance looked a lot like Feldman's starts from his breakout 2009 season...just 4 Ks in 7.2 innings, but a lot of ground balls, and just one walk and two runs allowed.

  • Alexi Ogando picked up his second save in two days, his only two saves of the season, with Joe Nathan being unavailable for the second straight day. Ron Washington's comments about Nathan have been rather cryptic, and after a couple of rough outings his last two times out, as well as a generally not-so-hot month of July, I'm starting to wonder if Nathan might not be dealing with an injury.
  • There was some baserunning drama in the Rangers' two run third inning, with problems that potentially cost the Rangers an extra run. With runners on second and third, Josh Hamilton blooped a single into left field that brought both runners home. The throw home appeared to give Hamilton the chance to advance to second, but he stayed at first, which prompted an animated discussion with first base coach Gary Pettis. Two batters later, with Hamilton at second and Adrian Beltre on first base, Nelson Cruz hit what looked to be a routine GIDP to shortstop. The ball was booted and got away from Alcides Escobar, however, and it appeared that Hamilton would score and Beltre would advance to third. Hamilton held up, however, getting Beltre caught between second and third, and the Royals ended up with a double play after Beltre was tagged out and then Nelson Cruz was (erroneously) called out trying to advance to second. The cameras showed Hamilton shouting at third base coach Dave Anderson after the play was over, and Evan Grant writes that Ron Washington said after the game Anderson should have sent Hamilton, but that he didn't pick up the ball quickly enough. Hamilton wasn't available for comment.
  • The Rangers had some fielding adventures of their own in this game. Mike Napoli was charged with an error when, on an attempted steal by Jarrod Dyson, he airmailed the throw into centerfield -- a particularly vexing error since the Rangers had called a pitchout, and Dyson should have been thrown out. In the eighth inning, Mike Olt, playing first base, was charged with his first major league error when Adrian Beltre threw a hard, low throw to first after fielding a slow roller that Olt didn't catch. Neither error, fortunately, led to a run scoring.
  • The fact that Olt was out there in that situation at all, with a 4-2 lead in the 8th on the road, was somewhat surprising to me. Olt has little experience at first base, and Mitch Moreland, at this point, is the better defender. I assumed that Ron Washington wanted Olt -- who was due up first in the 9th inning -- to hit again, but Moreland pinch hit for Olt, so I'm not sure what was going on there.
  • With Royals lefthander Will Smith going for the Royals today, David Murphy got his first start against a lefty since Opening Day, with Washington saying that he wanted to ride Murphy's hot hand. Murphy went 1 for 3 with a walk.
  • The top of the order, which had been a big part of why the Rangers' offense was the worst in the A.L. in July, has been hot of late. Ian Kinsler went 3 for 5, and Elvis Andrus went 2 for 5, with one of Elvis's outs coming when he was asked to bunt with two on and no one out in the ninth. I'm sure that, if he was allowed to swing away, he also would have gone 3 for 5.
  • The 3-4-5-6 hitters, on the other hand, weren't so hot. They went a combined 3 for 17 with one walk.
  • Josh Hamilton had two RBIs today, 89th and 90th of the year. Mike Olt also had two RBIs today, his 1st and 2nd of the year.