Texas Rangers: End April under .500

Nomar Mazara has 20 home runs on the season making him the fourth Rangers rookie to do so. Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison
Nomar Mazara has cooled off significantly at the plate since the start of the season.
Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison
Watch YOUR Texas Rangers at Big Shucks!
No strikes with crawfish. Watch YOUR Texas Rangers at Big Shucks!

Brought to you by: Big Shucks

By Wiley Singleton

4/24 – Game 1 – vs Twins
The Texas Rangers began their week at home against the Minnesota Twins. Phil Hughes faced off against Martine Perez both pictures turned in quality starts. This extraordinarily close game involved multiple disagreements with the home plate umpire. The significant turning point in the game came in the first inning during a Nomar Mazara at bat. On a full count Mazara took a pitch that was low. Mazara was called out on strikes. Chin Soo Choo, who was stealing on the pitch, pulled up early and was tagged out to extinguish an excellent start. Trouble continued in the ninth when Jonathan Lucroy took two pitches that were outside that were called strikes. The Rangers ultimately fell 3-2. Keone Kela, Jose Leclerc, and Dario Alvarez all pitched scoreless innings. This is noteworthy because Jeff Bannister has favored Sam Dyson, Matt Bush, and Tony Barnette in close situations this year. After his crushing first inning strikeout, Nomar Mazara finished the day 0-4 with three strikeouts.

4/25 – Game 2 – vs Twins
The Rangers followed their close defeat with a harsh one. Minnesota made Andrew Cashner work to get through four innings. Cashner walked six, and surrendered two runs on solo homers. Former Angel Ervin Santana logged seven excellent innings and acquired his fourth win. Andrus, Mazara, Napoli, and Odor all failed to reach base. 8-1 was the final. The Rangers went into the rubber match hoping to avoid being swept by the Twins for the second consecutive year.

4/26 – Game 3 – vs Twins
Game 3 of the series pitted Hector Santiago against Cole Hamels. Hamels was solid and his bullpen was excellent. The star of this game was Delino DeShields, who got a start at leadoff. DeShields went 2-3 with three walks and two stolen bases. Hamels was pitching a typical close Hamels game until the Rangers broke the game open in the bottom of the 6th. Ryan Rua made the game a blowout with a grand slam in the 8th. The offensive explosion was largely caused by speedster Delino DeShields reaching base five times. DeShields would remain at the leadoff spot for the rest of the week reached base every game. Choo had a great day in the 9th hole. He went 3-5 with three runs and RBIs. Choo and DeShields compliment each other well in the lineup and could be a powerful combination moving forward; especially with Carlos Gomez being more power focused than contact focused. The Rangers avoided the sweep and showed offensive life with a new DeShields-led lineup. 14-3.

4/28 – Game 1 – vs Angels
The Rangers welcomed Mike Trout and the Angels to Globe Life Park and were dealt a late defeat. Nick Martinez turned in a quality start for Texas in lieu of AJ Griffin. DeShields went 2-4 with two runs out of the leadoff spot this game. Gomez, who usually hits leadoff, batted 3rd. Gomez plays a similar leadoff style to former Ranger Ian Kinsler, offering substantial power over consistent contact. Gomez had a sacrifice RBI, but struck out twice. Nomar Mazara and Rougie Odor both went 0-4. The game was tied 3-3 after seven innings of play when Jeremy Jeffress gave up three runs in the 8th. The Rangers were unable to recover, fell 6-3.

4/29 – Game 2 – vs Angels
Yu Darvish was excellent and struck out ten batters. Leclerc, Kela, and Bush all turned in scoreless innings after Darvish. The Rangers offense was led by an explosive Carlos Gomez, who hit for the cycle from the 3 spot in the lineup. Mike Napoli continued to struggle, going hitless again. The Rangers looked to win their series and end the week with an even record. 6-3.

4/30 – Game 3 – vs Angels
Martin Perez faced off against JC Ramirez in the rubber match. Perez was relatively ineffective. He walked four, and gave up eight hits. He pitched 5.2 innings. Mike Napoli did not start the game but managed to contribute a strikeout in a pinch hitting opportunity. Nomar Mazara, who started the year off very hot, went hitless and struck out three times behind DeShields. The Rangers would ultimately fall 5-2 and lose both series of the week. The Rangers April ends with an 11-14 record. The Rangers have the 28th ranked batting average in the MLB.

There were a few bright spots in losing to subpar teams. Shin Soo-Choo and DeLino DeShields consistently contributed while the majority of the offense faltered. The late inning issues are less severe, as Keone Kela and Matt Bush have both shown they can close games.

The Rangers travel to Houston to take on the division leading Astros. The series will be incredibly important. The Rangers need to recover from a bad April and are facing off against an Astros team that they dominated last year. This year’s Astros team is significantly better offensively than last year’s team.

Upcoming Schedule – All Times Central
5/1   @Astros        7:10 p.m.
5/2   @Astros        7:10 p.m.
5/3   @Astros        7:10 p.m.
5/4   @Astros        1:10 p.m.
5/5   @Mariners   9:10 p.m.
5/6   @Mariners   8:10 p.m.
5/7   @Mariners   3:10 p.m.