Blitz Weekly

Texas Rangers: A Week to Forget

Cole Hamels has a shot to be in double digit wins prior to the All-Star break this Friday. Photo Courtesy: Darryl Briggs

Cole Hamels hasn’t been himself all season and now he’s on the DL for the next two months or so.
Photo Courtesy: Darryl Briggs

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By Wiley Singleton

5/1 – Game 1 – at the Astros
This year’s Silver Boot Series began with a four game series in Houston. Lance McCullers faced off against Andrew Cashner in the opening game. After giving up a homer to Napoli, McCullers pegged the slugging rightie. Napoli took a few steps out to the mound, benches cleared, and the Rangers took a 2-1 lead into the 7th inning. Tony Barnette came in and surrendered the lead. The Rangers fell 2-6 and the Astros captured an emotional game in which the Rangers blew a lead in the late innings.

5/2 – Game 2 – at the Astros
Cole Hamels was supposed to start this game for the Rangers, but was scratched due to oblique injury. Alex Claudio was decent in his spot start, and continues to be versatile as a pitcher. The Hamels injury turned out to be severe, sidelining him for around eight weeks. This is a crushing blow the Rangers playoff hopes. Hamels is the 2nd half of a combination at the top of the Rangers roster that is supposed to anchor the team. Hamels and Darvish are billed as two elite pitchers, and losing one of them early in the season with a struggling bullpen is disastrous.

The bottom of the Rangers lineup excelled, 7-8-9 of Andrus/Mazara/Lucroy combined for five hits and two homers. The Rangers took a 5-3 lead into the late innings, this time trouble came in the 8th. Keone Kela loaded the bases and surrendered a soul-crushing grand slam to Marwin Gonzalez, making the game 7-5. Nomar Mazara’s ninth inning two run shot made the game close, but ultimately the Jeremy Jeffress run after Kela’s performance was the difference in the game.  The Astros won the game 8-7 after Carlos Gomez swung at three pitches in the dirt in the final at bat.

5/3 – Game 3 – at the Astros
The Rangers bats struggled profoundly in game three. Nick Martinez surrendered four runs in the 2nd inning. The Rangers never recovered from the deficit and ended the game losing 10-1. The defeat was crushing and absolute. The Rangers are going to be forced into situations like this due to Hamels’ injury. The Rangers looked to AJ Griffin in the final game of the series.

5/4 – Game 4 – at the Astros
The Rangers relied on the loopy curveball of AJ Griffin to save them from a brutal four game sweep. Griffin performed well, surrendering only one earned run. Joey Gallo and Elvis Andrus continued as the most consistent members of the Rangers offense. Many of the games the Rangers have won this season have been due to accumulating early leads. The bigger the lead, the harder the game is for the bullpen to lose. The Rangers opened with four runs in the opening frame. Marwin Gonzalez continued his monster series, hitting a homer in every game of the series. Carlos Gomez robbed Gonzalez of a huge hit in the late stages of the game, stalling a potential nightmare inning. The Rangers managed to get four insurance runs in the last two innings. Griffin got the win, 10-4. The Rangers traveled to Seattle to try to gain ground in the division.

5/5 – Game 1 – at the Mariners
A pitching duel occurred in the opening game of the series. Yovani Gallardo faced off against Yu Darvish and both starters were electric. Both of them surrendered one run and gave the game over to their bullpens. The game went into extra innings as both offenses were unable to produce. Dyson, Barnette, Bush, and Claudio all turned in scoreless performances. Barnette got into trouble a couple times but escaped. The game ended in the top of the 13th when Rougie Odor broke the tie with a two-run homer. Alex Claudio closed out the lead and the Rangers won the opening game. Delino DeShields was excellent in the leadoff spot in this game, earning two hits and two runs. Rangers win 3-1.

5/6 – Game 2 – at the Mariners
Martin Perez logged a quality start in a game that looked less close than it was. Joey Gallo tied the game with a solo homer in the 2nd inning. The game was tied 1-1 going into the 7th inning, when the Rangers bullpen imploded. The Mariners posted seven runs in the inning and took a 8-1 lead. Mike Napoli homered as well, but the Rangers fell 8-2 in another game that was very close going into the late innings.

5/7 – Game 3 – at the Mariners
This game followed a similar theme to the others. Andrew Cashner was excellent. He pitched six innings and gave up one run. The Rangers managed to accumulate three runs going into the seventh inning and led 3-0. Leclerc, Claudio, and Dyson managed to blow the lead to Kyle Seager and company. Dyson’s ERA is 12.66. The Rangers fell in the bottom of the 9th 4-3 and lost the series. Many members of the Rangers offense continues to struggle…

Batting Avg:
Napoli: .169
Rua: .174
Odor: .190
Gomez: .227

The Rangers are in dire straights. They just lost one of their aces. Almost every member of the bullpen has struggled, even the most consistent ones from last year like Barnette. The offense continues to be ranked 28th in batting average. Elvis Andrus, Joey Gallo, Delino DeShields, and AJ Griffin were the bright spots of the week.

Upcoming Schedule – All Times Central
5/8    @Padres      9:10 p.m.
5/9    @Padres      2:40 p.m.
5/10   @Padres     7:05 p.m.
5/11    @Padres     7:05 p.m.
5/12    vs A’s          7:05 p.m.
5/13    vs A’s          7:05 p.m.
5/14    vs A’s          2:05 p.m.

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