Angels 13, Rangers 7
- Nick Martinez was one of the big stories of the early part of the season for the Rangers, putting up a bunch of quality starts and sporting a gaudy ERA heading into June. Martinez has faded as the season has gone on, however, and the Rangers optioned him before the All Star Break to manage his innings and give him the opportunity to get some limited work in in the minors to provide a break. Martinez was pounded in his first start back last time out, however, and struggled again today. Martinez ended up going 5 IP plus one batter, and that one batter ended up scoring when Anthony Bass and Spencer Patton let things get out of hand in the 6th inning. The final line featured 4 runs, all earned, on 6 hits, 3 walks and 5 Ks, with a pair of homers allowed. Martinez's command has to be very good for him to have success, and today, it just wasn't sharp enough.
- When Martinez left the game in the 6th after walking Conor Gillaspie to start the inning, it was a 3-2 Angels lead, and Texas looked like they were still in decent shape to pull out the win and sweep the series. Anthony Bass come into the game for Martinez, faced three batters, and retired none of them. Salvador Perez laid down a sacrifice bunt that Bass threw away, and then Daniel Robertson hit a ball back up the middle that ricocheted off of Martinez, staying in the infield for a single. A Johnny Giavotella single made it 4-2 and knocked Bass out of the game, with Sam Freeman coming into a bases loaded, no one out situation. Freeman struck out Kole Calhoun, then gave way to Spencer Patton. Patton got to 3-2 on Mike Trout, saw him foul a couple of pitches off, and then threw a good fastball down and in. Unfortunately, Trout can punish good fastballs down and in, and he inside-outed the ball for an opposite-field grand slam, making it an 8-2 game and letting us start thinking about things other than whether the Rangers would win today.
- After the Rangers got it to 8-4 in the top of the 7th, Jeff Banister brought Keona Kela into the game for his A.L.-leading 47th game of the season. To put this in perspective, prior to this season, Kela's career high in a pro season was 44 appearances. Kela didn't have it today, and ended up getting yanked with two outs in the 7th for Wandy Rodriguez after three runs were in. Wandy, who supposedly Banister was trying to avoid using because he's apparently getting a spot start later this week, allowed two more runs in the 8th. Personally, I thought Adam Rosales would pitch the 8th instead of Wandy, and he actually got up and started warming when Wandy got in trouble, but ended up not being used as a pitcher.
- The bats did some damage, putting up 12 hits, as well as drawing a pair of walks and a pair of HBPs. Rougned Odor went 2 for 5 with a double, Elvis Andrus and Mitch Moreland each went 2 for 5 with a double, and Adrian Beltre had a pair of hits. Josh Hamilton, conversely, went 0 for 5, and his OPS on the season is now down to 702.
- We also saw one of the pitfalls of going with a challenge early in the game. In the second inning, Prince Fielder hit a grounder where he was called out, although it appeared Albert Pujols might have pulled his foot off of first base. The challenge, of course, went against the Rangers, because challenges always go against the Rangers. Later in the inning, Elvis doubled with two outs, and then tried to advance to third on a pitch to Hamilton that got away from the Angel catcher. Though Elvis was clearly safe at third, the out-of-position third base umpire said that Elvis had come off the bag on the slide, and called him out. The call almost certainly would have been reversed on replay, but because the Rangers had used their challenge unsuccessfully already, they weren't in a position to try to have the call overturned.
- Oh, well. The Rangers now head home for four games against the Yankees in advance of the trade deadline, then three against San Fran and three against Houston. A 7-3 record or better in the homestand would get the team back above .500 before going on the road to Seattle and Minnesota. If the Rangers are over .500 when they hit the road, I'll maintain a certain level of optimism...well, not optimism, necessarily, but hope...about staying in the playoff race.