By Lew Patton
A Formula for Success
The Texas Rangers had a great week going 5-2 on the road against the Astros and Rays. The team first traveled to Houston to take on the league-leading Houston Astros and swept all three games, then went to Tampa and split that four game series. It was a dramatic turnaround from that disaster from the previous week when they went 2-5. The hitting came around, and some very good pitching occurred recently so there is a good feeling that perhaps the Rangers are finally beginning to get their timing down and the pitching may be coming around as well, just at the right time to put everything together to have a great week. That’s the great thing about baseball. You never know when all eight cylinders will begin firing at the same time.
Bats Heating Up
Robinson Chirinos hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the ninth inning, and the Rangers snapped Houston’s 10-game winning streak with a 2-1 win over the Astros last Monday night.
Kyle Blanks had three hits, including a homer, and Carlos Peguero added a two-run shot to back up a solid start by Wandy Rodriguez as the Rangers beat the Astros 7-1 on Tuesday night to win consecutive games for the first time this season.
Carlos Peguero hit a pair of solo homers, Shin-Soo Choo had a two-run shot and the Rangers routed the Astros 11-3 last Wednesday night behind eight strong innings from Colby Lewis. Adrian Beltre was a home run shy of the cycle for the Rangers, who finished off the three-game sweep. Houston had won 10 straight entering the series, but was outscored 20-5 over the three game stretch with the Rangers.
Elvis Andrus (remember him?) had a two-run single in a four-run second and the Rangers won their fourth straight, beating the Tampa Bay Rays 5-4 last Thursday night.
Nathan Karns had a strong start on a day full of bad news for the Tampa Bay rotation.
Karns took a shutout into the eighth inning, pinch hitter Brandon Guyer had a three-run homer and the Rays beat the Rangers 8-2 on Friday night.
Andrew Bellatti made the most of a second chance. The Tampa Bay reliever, who served jail time as a teen after a fatal car crash, was the winning pitcher in his major league debut Saturday night as the Rays beat the Rangers 7-2.
And how about this for a guy to “man up?” Adrian Beltre believes he knows why the Rangers haven’t been scoring much lately. “The main reason we’re not doing better is because of me. I take full responsibility,” Beltre said after driving in both Texas runs Sunday in a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. “Hitting in the middle of the lineup, I know my job, I know what I need to be doing. It hasn’t happened, but there’s no doubt it has to be better moving forward.”
That’s what leadership is about. Taking responsibility.
The Rangers may have very well seen and felt what it was supposed to be like to be a winning team again. All the pieces came together, and it was a much improved week for the team.
What about Josh Hamilton?
The former American League MVP spoke Sunday before starting his rehab stint with the Round Rock Express against the Nashville Sounds. He is recovering from a shoulder surgery on Feb. 4 and had been working in the Texas Rangers’ extended spring program in Arizona since April 28.
He went 1-for-3 with a single and two strikeouts before being pulled after five innings of work. Facing a 2-1 count in the first inning, Hamilton slapped a hit into shallow left field. Former Cy Young winner Barry Zito struck Hamilton out twice, once swinging and once looking, in the 7-0 loss to Nashville.
5/11 vs. Royals 7:05 PM
5/12 vs. Royals 7:05 PM
5/13 vs. Royals 7:05 PM
5/14 vs. Royals 1:05 PM
5/15 vs. Indians 7:05 PM
5/16 vs. Indians 7:05 PM
5/17 vs. Indians 2:05 PM