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Thoughts on a 4-0 Rangers win

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Rangers 4, Astros 0

Houston Astros v Texas Rangers Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Rangers 4, Astros 0

  • Well, folks, that was a shutout against the A.L. West favorite Houston Astros, and with Gerrit Cole on the mound for them to boot. Texas takes the series from the Astros, and did damage against not just Cole but also Justin Verlander in the series, while being shut down by Brad Peacock.
  • Mike Minor had what was easily the best start for a Ranger pitcher so far this season, going seven shutout innings with 7 Ks, walking 2 and allowing just 5 hits. The Astros never got a runner to third base, and the closest thing to trouble Minor got into was when he allowed a one out double to Carlos Correa in the fourth, and then walked Yuli Gurriel. Tyler White bounced into an inning-ending double play, though, and that was that. It was a sharp, efficient outing from Minor, and encouraging to see after his rough Opening Day start.
  • Shawn Kelley pitched a scoreless 8th, and Jose Leclerc needed just nine pitches to Finish the ninth, recording a pair of routine fly outs and a strikeout. This is after needing just six pitches to retire the side yesterday. It all looked very routine, and while the Rangers ended their errorless streak by making a pair of errors behind Minor in the fifth, overall the run prevention today was smooth and easy.
  • The Rangers smallballed a run in the bottom of the first to take the lead, After Shin-Soo Choo and Rougned Odor struck out to start the game, Elvis Andrus singled, stole second, and came around to score when Nomar Mazara beat out an infield hit that he tweaked his quad running out. It was shades of the old days, when Elvis was young and fast and a terror on the base paths...
  • Two more runs scored in the fourth, courtesy of a Joey Gallo one out walk, a runner-advancing ground out, a Hunter Pence RBI single, and a Ronald Guzman opposite field double. Pence started in left field, with Delino DeShields getting a day off, and continued to show signs of life.
  • Mazara gave Texas an insurance run in the 8th with a two out 431 homer to right center. He came out of the game in the top of the ninth because of his achy quad, but it looked fine when he mashed a Josh James slider. Mazara is showing signs of an improved approach so far, and if he continues to hit the ball hard and in the air, he could have a big year.
  • Speaking of an improved approach, Joey Gallo walked three times today, and struck out once. Houston pumped high fastballs at him, which has been his weakness in the past, but Chris Woodward has talked about Gallo’s work on laying off those pitches, and it paid off today. Gallo now has more walks than strikeouts so far this season.
  • The sideshow tonight was the Astros beefing with home plate umpire Ron Kulpa. Manager A.J. Hinch and hitting coach Alex Cintron both were ejected in the second inning for barking about balls and strikes, several Astros hitters complained about the strike zone, and Gerrit Cole got into it with Kulpa when he was leaving the game. I guess a slow start and struggling against the supposedly worst team in the division makes a team salty.