Rangers 4, Astros 2
- Alexi Ogando had a shaky game yesterday against an Astros offense that is usually viewed as pretty punchless. Ogando allowed just 2 runs, but was pulled with two outs in the sixth, having allowed five hits and four walks while striking out just three Houston hitters. Ogando started the season strong, striking out 10 hitters in 6.1 innings and walking one in the third game of the season against Houston. Since then, Ogando has struck out 27 and walked 17, and has made it past the sixth inning just once in his seven starts. While Ogando has a 3.09 ERA on the year, his FIP is 4.30 and his xFIP is 4.40, and I continue to wonder if he's going to be successful enough in the rotation to warrant keeping him there when Colby Lewis and Martin Perez are healthy, rather than moving back to the bullpen.
- Speaking of the bullpen, the Rangers relievers were outstanding yesterday, facing 10 batters and retiring all 10. Robbie Ross came in with two outs in the sixth and a runner on first base and retired the first batter he faced, albeit with a lot of help from Ian Kinsler, who made a spectacular diving catch on a line drive from Robbie Grossman. Ross, Tanner Scheppers and Joe Nathan then each went 1-2-3 in the 7th, 8th and 9th, respectively.
- Ross threw 17 pitches yesterday, Scheppers 12, and Nathan 14, so all three should be available today, should Yu Darvish need them.
- It was another one of those mediocre games from the offense, where they did enough to win, but not enough to escape the nagging feeling that they should have done better. The Rangers had three singles, three doubles, three homers and three walks, but only managed four runs, with all three of the home runs being solo shots.
- The non-homer run came in the top of the third, when Elvis Andrus tied up the game with a bases loaded, one out walk that brought home Geovany Soto. The Rangers appeared poised then for a huge inning, but Lance Berkman followed up the run-scoring walk with a swinging K (despite having, as Tom Grieve pointed out, a couple of good pitches to hit in the at bat), and Adrian Beltre flew out to end the inning, leaving the bases loaded.
- Every starter other than Elvis and Soto got a hit, and Elvis and Soto even chipped in walks, so all starters got on base. Ian Kinsler was the only Ranger to have a multi-hit game, picking up a single and a double in five at bats.
- Jeff Baker had an opposite-field homer in the 7th that barely made it over the wall to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead, and David Murphy had a 9th inning home run that was a blast to center to give the Rangers an insurance run, but the real story as far as the home runs go was Nelson Cruz. In the top of the 6th, with the Rangers down 1, Cruz turned on a Dallas Keuchel pitch and hit a moonshot, sending it over the stands and off one of the glass panels that come across the back of the left field stands area when the roof closes at Minute Maid. If the roof was open, that ball may have left the stadium altogether.