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Thoughts on a 10-8 Rangers win

Rangers 10, Indians 8

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers 10, Indians 8

  • This was really two different games.  The first three innings were a slugfest, with neither starter recording 9 outs, and the game being knotted up at 7-7 at the end of three.  The final six innings were...well, not a pitchers' duel, really, but a close, nail-biting affair where runs were at a premium.
  • Phil Klein, the recently-converted-to-starting former reliever who was thrust into a spot start last week where he did surprisingly well, crashed back down to reality today.  Klein gave up a 455 foot home run to Carlos Santana in the first inning, then, after an E3-K-walk sequence to start the second, allowed an opposite field shot to Roberto Perez, turning the lead over to the Indians.  A pair of doubles brought in a fourth run on the inning, and prompted Jeff Banister to get Alex Claudio up and warming.  Klein managed to escape, but he was giving up hard hit balls, and I was mildly surprised when Banister went to him to start the third.  Klein only faced two batters, though, before being yanked with no one out and runners on second and third.
  • Claudio has been saddled with a dual role as second bullpen lefty and longman, someone who could be asked to face one batter or fifteen in a given game.  He was brought into the game to protect a 7-5 lead and to soak up innings, and he did one of those jobs, at least.  Both of the runners Claudio inherited scored, one on a run scoring groundout, one on a sac fly (after the runner on second was able to go to third on a wild pitch ball four).  Claudio settled down, though, and while he wasn't spectacular, he kept things under control until sixth, when a one out walk was followed up by a run-scoring double (assisted by a somewhat less-than-urgent approach to the ball by Shin-Soo Choo) knocked him out of the game (well, knocked him out of the game once he issued an intentional walk in advance of Tanner Scheppers coming in) and put him on the hook for a potential loss, with the score now being 8-7, Indians.
  • Things settled down from there, though.  Scheppers retired all four batters he faced before getting pulled with two outs in the 7th for Sam Freeman.  Freeman had issues with his command, but walked one and fanned two while pitching 1.1 scoreless innings.  And then Proven Closer Shawn Tolleson came into the game and shut down Cleveland in the bottom of the 9th, sealing a win for Texas.
  • As for the bats, the offense got on the board early, taking the lead three batters in when Prince Fielder hit a two run blast to center field, bringing home Shin-Soo Choo.  Adrian Beltre followed that up with a home run of his own, giving Klein a 3 run lead before he ever took the mound.
  • The game really changed in the top of the 3rd inning.  Texas was down, 5-3, and after allowing a couple of homers early, Indians starter Shaun Marcum looked like he might be getting settled in enough to protect the lead.  Texas rallied with two out in the inning, though, starting with a Prince Fielder opposite-field double.  Adrian Beltre was intentionally walked so that Marcum could face Josh Hamilton, which wasn't necessarily a bad move...Beltre had homered off of Marcum in the first, while Hamilton had struck out swinging, and Marcum throws a very good changeup which can neutralize lefties.  Still, Marcum couldn't get Hamilton to chase, and ended up walking him, loading the bases for Mitch Moreland.  Moreland cashed in the opportunity with an RBI single, stole second to put runners at second and third, and then ended up coming around to score on Elvis Andrus's two run double, ensuring cheap pizza for D/FW residents and giving the Rangers their momentum back.
  • Texas countered the Indians taking the lead back in the bottom of the sixth immediately in the top of the seventh, with Delino DeShields, Jr., reaching on a single, advancing to second on a wild pickoff throw, and then moving to third on a Choo ground out.  Prince's third hit of the game, a single, brought DeShields home with the tying run, and triggered a pitching change.  New pitcher Zach McAllister allowed an Adrian Beltre single before getting Hamilton to bounce an easy tapper back to the mound...which McAllister threw several feet over the first baseman's head, allowing Prince to score the go ahead run.  Elvis added a solo homer in the 8th as an insurance run, and we all were happy.
  • I'm guessing either Klein or Claudio, or possibly both, gets sent down tomorrow to get a fresh arm or two into the bullpen.  Claudio is going to be unavailable for the next couple of games, you'd have to figure, after throwing 62 pitches today -- just 4 less than Klein did.  The Rangers need a 5th starter again on Friday, but they may figure Anthony Ranaudo or Anthony Bass is preferable to keeping Klein up the next few days and rolling him out there again after today's start.  Regardless, I'd wager Jon Edwards is on a flight to Cleveland right now.
  • Josh Hamilton was, of course, the big story coming into today, but his return to a Ranger uniform was somewhat fizzly.  Hamilton K'd his first time up, in the first, before working a walk against Marcum to load the bases in the 3rd.  Hamilton fanned again later in the game before getting the 30 foot roller in the 7th inning that resulted in the go-ahead run coming home.  Hamilton also turned a playable fly ball in the early innings into a double -- it was hard hit, and wasn't scored an error, but it was a play you'd expect most left fielders to make.
  • The Rangers only got 9 hits and 3 walks, but they made those count.  Fielder was a triple shy of a cycle, Beltre had a single and a homer, and Elvis had a double and a homer.
  • While Leonys Martin started the game on the bench, he ended up pinch hitting for Thomas Field in the 7th, and then replaced DeShields in center for the bottom of the 7th, with Adam Rosales going in at second base.  Banister also did some defensive shifting in the 9th, when he sent Jake Smolinski in to play left field, and moved Hamilton over to right in place of Choo, giving the Rangers an entirely different defensive alignment in the outfield at the end of the game from what they started with.
  • This is now 6 in a row for the Rangers, and if the Angels lose tonight at home against San Diego, Texas will be in a tie with LAA for second place in the A.L. West.  A win tomorrow for Texas would get the team back to .500 for the first time since they were 3-3 the first week of the season.