Texas Rangers: Win series against Mariners, Royals

The good guys have been better than expected so far this season. Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch

By Wiley Singleton

After sweeping the Mariners a fortnight ago the Rangers moved on to face the Angels. The Rangers won the first game of the series against the Angels. They looked poised to continue to build upon their winning record. After a late rally in the 2nd game thanks to Rougie Odor and Nomar Mazara, Shawn Kelly blew the save in the 9th inning. Kole Calhoun had an excellent game and carried the Angels. The Rangers blew a 5-1 lead in a disastrous 7th inning. Jeffrey Springs was the main perpetrator of this. The Rangers got to rematch the Mariners, but wasted an opportunity to establish themselves as the 2nd best team in the AL West. Let’s see how the week went for the good guys…

Series at Mariners
Game 1 – Lance Lynn turned in a quality start against the Mariners. Shin-Soo Choo, Elvis Andrus, and Hunter Pence all failed to reach base. Ronald Guzman did some damage this game, but the Rangers never held a lead and had trouble getting runs. The bottom of the Rangers lineup is usually very weak. Jeff Mathis cannot hit. Guzman is still trying to find his stride after coming back from injury. Rougie Odor is batting well below .200. Loss 6-2

Game 2 – Adrian Sampson was used in conjunction with an opener again. Sampson and Jesse Chavez worked together to allow 3 runs over 6 IP. The offense lit up the Mariners and their awful defense. Nomar Mazara and Ronald Guzman both had homers. Choo had 2 hits and runs. Hunter Pence continues to do very well. He had 2 walks, hits, RBI, and runs. Shelby Miller pitched the final inning after being demoted from starting duty. Win 11-4

Game 3 – Jose Lecelerc pitched an excellent opening inning. Drew Smyly was awful despite not having to face the hardest part of the lineup initially. He gave up 7 ER over 5 IP. Jesse Chavez and Shawn Kelly were both very good, ending the game with 3 scoreless IP. Wade LeBlanc started for the Mariners. Hunter Pence opened the scoring with a triple. The Rangers were behind late in the game, and Shin-Soo Choo was used as a pinch hitter in the 8th inning and had a clutch hit. Nomar Mazara had a double with 2 outs in the top of the 9th. Asdrubal Cabrera spanked a hit into left field to give the Rangers an 8-7 lead. Shawn Kelly put two men on, but Logan Forsythe bailed him out with great defense. Kelly got the save, Rangers took the game and the series. Win 8-7

Series vs Royals
Game 1 – The Rangers began a four game set with the Royals at home. The Royals specialize in speed and defense, but do not have the pitching they had during their 2014-2015 era. Jakob Junis turned in a quality start for the Royals. Mike Minor started for the Rangers. He was good, but only lasted 5 IP. Jeffrey Springs gave up a run in his appearance as usual. Shelby Miller and Jose Leclerc turned in a scoreless inning each after him. The Rangers were unable to get any offense going due the the bottom 3 batters in the lineup being a black hole. Odor, Guzman, and Mathis all failed to reach base. Choo had an RBI, as did Mazara. Loss 4-2

Game 2 – Danny Duffy was excellent until the 6th inning when he ran into trouble. Danny Santana began the rally with a walk. Choo followed him with a single. Andrus knocked in Santana after Choo. Pence had an infield hit after to load the bases. Then Duffy walked Mazara to tie the game. After falling behind to Joey Gallo, Duffy was forced to throw a fastball. Gallo destroys fastballs from lefties, and sent this pitch into orbit for his first career Grand Slam. Joey Gallo had a killer diving catch to end the game. Shawn Kelly pitched the final inning after Chris Martin and Jesse Chavez turned in scoreless outings. Young sinker baller Ariel Jurado was excellent, giving up 2 ER over 6 IP. Win 6-2

Game 3 – Homer Bailey, who has pitched two no hitters, was shelled in his start. Joey Gallo had a monster 2-run shot to open the scoring. Ronald Guzman smoked a double to put Cabrera on 3rd so Mathis could drive him in with a sac fly. Lance Lynn was solid, and continues to look like a legitimate number 2 starter. After 6.1 solid innings, Leclerc came in and got two strikeouts. Chris Martin and Shawn Kelly followed with scoreless innings. Win 6-2

Game 4 – Brad Keller turned in a quality start. He was outdueled by Adrian Sampson, who had his best career start. 7 IP, 1 ER, and a career high 11 strikeouts. The best thing about this start was the fact Sampson did so well without an opener. Jeffrey Springs relieved Sampson but walked 2 and was pulled. Shelby Miller got out of the inning. Jesse Chavez pitched the final inning and was great. He has improved a lot and closed this game. Guzman had 2 hits along with Santana and Mazara. Win 5-1.

News & Notes
Joey Gallo went down with an oblique strain and was placed on the 10 day IL. He was firing on all cylinders and was a huge threat. This injury comes off the heels of Willie Calhoun getting hurt while he was doing very well.

Drew Smyly and Shelby Miller have both been failures as starters. Lance Lynn and Mike Minor have both out performed expectations. Ariel Jurado and Adrian Sampson have both been very good and are young. They could be starters in the future. Shawn Kelly and Chris Martin are both average. They give up runs too frequently to be legitimate back end bullpen guys. Jose Leclerc was a top tier closer but had a fall from grace. He has been used in every role since and has looked better. Jeffrey Springs has been horrible.