Less than 24 hours after the showdown that wasn’t on a warm and extremely humid North Texas evening over 42,000 fans were treated to what should have occurred when Yu Darvish and Justin Verlander took to the mound Thursday. Nick Tepesch and Rick Porcello were your starters on Friday for the Rangers and Tigers.
Despite having a subpar history when throwing against Texas, Rick Porcello was money on this night. A solid five and two thirds innings, only one walk allowed, and a few key double plays to keep the Rangers off the board. One constant, one carryover from the night before continued when Geovany Soto went yard a second time early in the 5th inning.
Detroit would strike first on an RBI double by Miguel Cabrera after an Andy Dirks single. Alex Avila would get the second tally of the 5th when he got Cabrera home after a sacrifice fly. That was all your scoring. There was some nice defense along the way.
Leonys Martin flashed the arm and glove in a bang-bang play at the plate that denied Detroit a third run that brought a crowd of 42,778 to their feet. As a fellow Cuban, that made me proud. Both Tepesch and Porcello were keen at producing the ground ball out. Seemed every groundout went to second base. To paraphrase a classic movie and a quote from Andy Van Slyke, Friday night resembled ‘The Summer of 4 to 3’. If you keep score of games you’ll know what that means.
Currently the Rangers sit in first place all alone in the A.L. West seven games up. They are also the only team above .500 in the west. The Boys from Motown are in a dead heat with the red-hot Cleveland Indians tied for 1st place in the A.L. Central. That’s a race that will be fun to watch all season.
With the defeat it marked the eighth time the Rangers failed to get a hit with runners in scoring position. A fact that wasn’t lost on Ron Washington. “Anytime you lose a game like this, everybody is going to bring up the missed opportunities,” designated hitter Lance Berkman said. “But we were getting those opportunities. You’re not going to do it every time, especially against a good team like that with tough pitching. It was a tough baseball game. Their guys pitched well, our guys pitched well, they came up one run better. What are you going to do?”
Credit also given to Rick Porcello against this Boomstick Mafia.
“I thought Porcello was as good as I’ve ever seen him,” Washington said. “He loaded up the strike zone with all kinds of pitches. We worked him pretty good. We had opportunities, but he made pitches and we couldn’t deliver.”
These two clubs are pretty familiar with one another with playoff appearances from 2010-2012. Where Nelson Cruz was the player providing the dagger with a grand slam in postseason all that was mustered Friday were inning ending double plays and a flyout.
“That’s where you want to be and when you want the lead,” Cruz said. “There’s nothing I can do. It’s done. Tomorrow if I’ve got the chance, I’ll try to get the job done again.”
The homestand will continue with the Oakland Athletics in town for three beginning Monday. Texas would be more than content with a 5-2 homestand and the chance to build an even bigger lead in the A.L. West. Thankfully, the post game show provided lots of fireworks and they were free.