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Thoughts on a 9-2 Rangers win

Rangers 9, Astros 2

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers 9, Astros 2

  • Drew Stubbs hurt his toe and the Rangers allowed the Astros to score two runs, rather than holding them to one run like they did the first two games.  Other than that, I don't think there's a thing you could complain about with today's game.
  • Cole Hamels, who hasn't been as Cole Hamels-esque as usual this year and who talked about wanting to throw more first strikes, was outstanding today.  One run scored as a result of a Hanser Alberto error, the other run scored on an Evan Gattis home run once the Rangers were up a lot.  Otherwise, Hamels was pretty much in cruise control today, striking out 11 in 8 IP, walking 2, and allowing 5 hits.
  • The only time, other than the Gattis homer in the sixth, an Astros runner even made it past first base was in the bottom of the third.  Hamels took the mound after getting a 5-0 lead in the top of the inning, and after striking out Marwin Gonzalez to start things off, induced Jason Castro to hit an easy bouncer to second base.  Hanser Alberto, getting the start in place of Rougned Odor, simply muffed the ball, allowing Castro to reach safely.  Jake Marisnick then doubled, putting runners at second and third, and after a grounder to Elvis Andrus brought home a run, George Springer walked, putting runners on first and second with two outs, and bringing Doug Brocail out to the mound (in no small part because Hamels might have been annoyed that he didn't get a swinging strike three call, as replays indicated that Springer didn't successfully check his swing on the 3-2 pitch, though the umpires said he did).  Hamels got Carlos Correa swinging to end the inning, though, and that was it as far as problems today went.
  • Hamels lowered his ERA on the season to 2.83 and his xFIP on the year to 3.29.  His FIP is still 4.48, due to a quarter of his fly balls allowed being home runs, but overall, the numbers are still pretty nice for Hamels this season.
  • Tony Barnette pitched a scoreless ninth, with the only baserunner being Castro, who drew a two out, 3-2 walk.  I thought Shawn Tolleson might get the ball, up 7 runs in the ninth, but he'll apparently get his first non-closer appearance sometime this coming week instead.
  • Texas made it a comfortable lead on Dallas Keuchel with a five run third inning.  Ryan Rua started off the inning with an HBP on a 2 strike pitch, and TAG and Busby both talked about how Rua seems willing to hold still on close pitches inside and take the free base, rather than ducking this case, Keuchel was throwing a back-foot breaking ball that hit his back foot, but Rua showed good discipline by staying still and letting it ding his shoe.
  • Bobby Wilson followed up Rua's HBP with a double to left-center, bringing home Rua and continuing the weird catcher thing the Rangers have going on.  Hanser Alberto tried, unsuccessfully, to bunt twice, then struck out swinging, and was followed by a Drew Stubbs K, giving Keuchel the chance to get out of the inning with minimal damage if he could retire Ian Desmond.  Desmond, though, singled to right, and then moved to second on Springer's throw home, with Wilson scoring by diving under Castro's sweep tag.  After a passed ball allowed Desmond to go to third, Prince Fielder walked, and then both runners scored on an Adrian Beltre double.  Nomar Mazara singled home Beltre before Keuchel finished striking out the side in the inning by fanning Elvis Andrus, making it 5-0, after which things never really were in doubt.
  • Texas scored single runs off Keuchel in the fourth, when Rua doubled, stole third and scored on Wilson's single, and again in the sixth, when Elvis and Rua singles were followed up by a two out Hanser base hit.  The final runs came in the seventh, when Pat Neshek gave up a hard hit double to Prince, then a two out home run to Nomar Mazara deep over the right-center fence.
  • Every starter got at least one hit, with Desmond, Rua, Wilson and Mazara all having two hit games.  It was once of those "everyone gets into the action" days.
  • As I noted above, Drew Stubbs hurt his toe, spraining it trying to get back to second in the ninth after a Desmond single (he didn't make it back, and was tagged out), resulting in Rua, who started at first base, moving to the outfield in the ninth inning, and Moreland going in at first base.  Stubbs will have an x-ray on Monday, but with Shin-Soo Choo already sidelined due to his hamstring, if Stubbs is going to miss time, the Rangers may need to bring Jurickson Profar up now to give the Rangers an extra bench player, and put one of the outfielders on the d.l.  Profar will be coming up anyway to fill in while Odor serves his suspension, which will likely start next week, so you might as well bring him up Monday to keep your bench from being quite so shorthanded.
  • Texas is now 6-0 against Houston this year, just held the Astros to four runs over three games, and are heading home for a three game series against the Angels just a game and a half back in the West.  Oh, and Yu Darvish will be starting on Saturday, apparently, against the Pirates.  Things are pretty good, I think.