Angels 3, Rangers 1
- Well, the good news is the Rangers got another Quality Start from their starting pitcher. Martin Perez registered his second QS of the year, and Rangers starters now have Quality Starts in 6 of the 7 games the Rangers have played so far this season, with Derek Holland's 5 IP, 3 run outing being the one that didn't qualify.
- The bad news is that Martin Perez continued to have issues that send up red flags. As with his first start, he had issues missing bats, and he walked too many hitters. Perez had 62 strikes out of 102 pitches, including 19 first pitch strikes out of 29 batters faced, but he didn't strike out anyone. He had just 5 swinging strikes, while also walking 5 batters. Having an identical number of swinging strikes and walks is a bad thing.
- Of course, Perez was also a ground ball machine, with 17 ground balls to 2 fly balls, and by generating 3 GIDPs, he was able to avoid major trouble. Perez allowed 3 runs in all, one of them coming in the 7th, after he loaded the bases with one out on a single-walk-HBP sequence that brought Tony Barnette into the game. Barnette got Mike Trout to fly out and Albert Pujols to ground out, escaping the inning, but the Trout fly ball brought home the third run of the game.
- Several folks, myself included, were expecting big things from Perez this year. He appeared ready to break out in 2014 pre-injury, and then finished the 2015 season strong. Instead, Perez has seemingly gone backwards, looking like the nervous, nibbling pitcher that was making folks nuts back in 2012. Its just two starts, and so hopefully this is just an aberration, but this isn't the Perez we were hoping to be seeing in 2016.
- Jeff Banister's bullpen choices were odd today, I thought. With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the 7th, down a run, and Mike Trout and Albert Pujols due up, the game was pretty much on the line. I thought we might see Keone Kela or Sam Dyson. Instead, Banister went to Barnette, who seems to be the 7th man in the current 8 man bullpen. Barnette got out of the inning, but it seems too much like the "use your B-relievers if you are down" game plan that I was hoping we were getting away from with the "no roles" mantra. Banister had previously justified using Barnette in a close game earlier this week because it was the bottom of the line. That wasn't the case today, with Trout and Pujols being the hitters.
- Then Phil Klein finally pitched, getting his first appearance of the year, in the 8th inning. Klein needs to get some work, of course, but down 2 in the bottom of the 8th doesn't seem like the type of mop-up role you'd expect Klein to get work in.
- As far as the bats go, Nomar Mazara was awesome, and everyone else was bleah. Mazara, making his major league debut, had three hits, including a bomb of a home run to center field to make it a 2-1 game in the fifth. Mazara's three hits almost equaled the total by the rest of the offense, with Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre, Mitch Moreland and Ian Desmond all getting a hit apiece. Prince also walked, the lone base on balls the Rangers drew today. The offense continues to be an area in need of improvement.
- Hanser Alberto got the start in place of Rougned Odor today -- a strange decision, given that the Rangers were facing a righthander -- but Evan Grant suggested the Rangers were afraid the soft-tossing Jered Weaver would throw Odor's timing off. Alberto had a rough game, making a casual throw on an Andrelton Simmons grounded in the second that Simmons beat out, getting scored an infield single, and then couldn't make a play on a Geovany Soto popup in the 7th that seemed like a makeable play, resulting in Soto getting on with what would end up being the final Angels run. Alberto was 0 for 3 at the plate, most notably popping out with runners on first and third and one out on a first pitch curveball out of the zone that Eric Nadel described as an "awful at bat." Alberto only saw 6 pitches, all told, in 3 plate appearances, and was lifted for Odor as a pinch hitter in the 9th. Odor grounded out to second on the second pitch he saw to end the game.
- Texas is now 3-4, a half-game back in the West, and the team is likely already en route to Seattle for the series against the M's starting tomorrow.