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Thoughts on a 7-3 Rangers win

Darvish wasn't as bad as Weaver, Scheppers and Kinsler were awesome, and the Rangers take two of three from the Angels

Nolan Ryan, about to propose to Johnny Football
Nolan Ryan, about to propose to Johnny Football
Brandon Wade

Rangers 7, Angels 3. Texas is now 4-2 on the season.

  • Yu Darvish was erratic today, but erratic Yu is still pretty entertaining Yu. He dug himself a hole in the top of the first, sandwiching an Erick Aybar HBP around a Mike Trout walk and an Albert Pujols walk that resulted in the bases being loaded with no one out, and the crowd murmuring nervously, remembering what happened yesterday when Matt Harrison put the Rangers down 4 early. Darvish got Josh Hamilton to ground into a double play, though, and after allowing a run-scoring single to Mark Trumbo, Darvish struck out Howie Kendrick to end the inning.
  • Darvish had two on and one out in the second and runners on second and third with no one out in the third inning, but managed to escape each jam without allowing a run. The fourth was his only one-two-three inning, and he allowed three hits (but just one run) in the fifth, the last inning he pitched. Darvish was lifted after five innings and 85 pitches, with the Rangers saying that he had a blister issue, but even without the blister, having thrown a lot of pitches in his last outing and struggling today may have been enough for Texas to pull him after five innings anyway.
  • After a discussion about how the blister primarily affected your ability to throw the change-up, the ESPN announcers implied that Darvish should have been sent out there for the sixth inning, and just told not to throw his change-up. The ESPN announcers did not have a good game.
  • Darvish's final line ended up being 5 IP, 6 hits, 4 walks, 6 Ks, 3 R. His ERA on the season jumped all the way up to 1.98. Sometimes, Darvish will start off a game with spotty command -- even in his near-perfect-game against the Astros, it looked like his command was shaky in the first inning -- but then, in the middle innings, get locked in. This didn't happen today...whether it was the blister or just not his day, Darvish never seemed to find it. He still pitched better than Jered Weaver, though.
  • Robbie Ross pitched for the second straight day, and while he escaped without allowing a run, he continued to not look his sharpest, allowing a pair of hits in an inning while striking out a batter.
  • Tanner Scheppers, on the other hand, looked like the guy who, in the 2008 and 2009 drafts, was described as having some of the best stuff of any pitcher in either draft. Scheppers was viewed as someone with a couple of dominant pitches who could move fast as a late-inning reliever, but after looking great early in 2010, he struggled with consistency and injuries, not making his major league debut until 2012, and having an up-and-down season then. Today, however, Scheppers went two innings, struck out a pair whlie allowing a single hit (a soft single to Josh Hamilton), and looked the part of a dominant late-inning setup man. If the Tanner Scheppers we have seen so far in 2013 is the Tanner Scheppers we get all year, the bullpen is looking like a potential strength.
  • Joe Nathan closed out the 9th with an uneventful sequence that saw Albert Pujols get on base with two out on a bloop single. That set the stage for Josh Hamilton to ground out to end the game.
  • While Darvish gave up a pair of runs in the top of the first inning, unlike yesterday, the Rangers immediately struck back and took the lead away. Ian Kinsler led off the game by working a walk after getting down 1-2, and after Elvis Andrus lined out, Lance Berkman took Weaver deep for his first homer as a Ranger. David Murphy then homered later in the inning to give Texas a 3-2 edge, and they wouldn't give up the lead.
  • The remaining four runs that Texas plated came courtesy of Kinsler, who singled home Geovany Soto in the fourth inning, and then hit a three-run opposite field homer in the 6th. Kinsler ended the day going 3-3 with a walk, a pair of runs and 4 RBIs, raising his average on the season to .333.
  • The Rangers had just 8 hits on the day, but they also picked up 5 walks, and four of the eight hits were for extra basis (the three aforementioned homers and a Soto double). No one other than Kinsler had more than one hit, with Elvis, Leonys Martin and Adrian Beltre going hitless on the day.
  • And because there's never enough Josh Hamilton drama, there are unconfirmed reports on Twitter that he made a wanking motion to the fans in right field late in today's game. I hope his wife and children didn't see that.