Brought to you by: Big Shucks
5/8 – Game 1 at the Padres – The Rangers faced off against former Oakland Athletics ace Trevor Cahill. KL has been notoriously successful against the Rangers. Cahill continued this trend as a San Diego Padre and pitched incredibly well. The Rangers only managed two hits. The only bright spot of the game for Texas was Shin-Soo Choo who walked, hit a homer, and stole a base. This loss put the Rangers at 13-20, and the offense was struggling profoundly. With Cole Hamels and Beltre injured, things looked bleak for the Rangers after this game. They would have to face another former division ace, Jered Weaver. Weaver, like Trevor Cahill, has lots of experience against the Rangers and pitched for a California team before becoming a Padre.
5/9 – Game 2 at the Padres – This game marked a huge turning point for the Rangers. AJ Griffin faced off against the aforementioned Jered Weaver. Weaver was shelled early, giving up seven runs in only three innings. AJ Griffin was electric, pitching a complete game shutout to seal an 11-0 victory. Griffin’s consistent starts have been the backbone of the Rangers rotation this year, especially in lieu of Cole Hamels. Griffin befuddled Padres batters with his loopy curveball and only gave up four hits.
The Rangers offense was excellent as well. Everyone reached base, including Griffin. Joey Gallo and Robinson Chirinos continued their trend of hitting homers together. Nomar Mazara had a huge hit in the first inning to set up a Ryan Rua homer. This was probably the best game the Rangers played all year. They took their momentum from this incredible performance and carried it through the week.
5/10 – Game 3 against the Padres – The Rangers played the final two games of this series in Texas. Yu Darvish started for the Rangers and faced off against Luis Perdomo. Both pitchers turned in quality starts. The game was 3-3 going into the 7th inning, and became a battle of the bullpens. The Padres ran into trouble in the 7th on an error than allowed Delino DeShields to score, making the game 4-3. DeShields logged two runs in this game from the nine hole. Shin-Soo Choo’s excellent performances in recent games earned him a start at the leadoff spot, the place where Delino had been batting recently. The players synergized very well together, as the speedy Delino wreaked havoc with pitchers as the patient Choo went 3-3 with a walk and a stolen base. DeShields even forced a balk, and scored because of it.
Jeremy Jeffress, Alex Claudio, Keone Kela, and Matt Bush all contributed scoreless outings to seal the Padres defeat. Matt Bush seems to be the clear cut best bullpen arm. The former Padres draft pick has excelled in the closer role, boasting an ERA of 1.32. Bush sealed the 4-3 lead and the Rangers aimed to win the series after losing the opening game.
5/11 – Game 4 against the Padres – Martin Perez faced off against Clayton Richard in the final game of the four game set. Both were solid, Perez went 6.1 IP and gave up two runs. The game was 2-0 Padres going into the 8th, when Mike Napoli hit a solo homer. The game was 2-1 going into the 9th after a Sam Dyson scoreless inning. Rougie Odor came up with runners on the corners and tied the game with a sharp single. Napoli worked the count to 3-1 and then crushed a walkoff homer to left field. The homer was an absolute no-doubter, and marked an excellent game for Napoli, who has been struggling to keep his average above .200. Odor went 2-4 and also came up big when it mattered. Odor has also been struggling with contact. The Rangers took on the division rival Oakland A’s after the 5-2 win.
5/12 – Game 1 against the A’s – This game was extremely similar to the final game of the Padres series. After another quality start, the Rangers bats generated just one run after seven innings. Andrew Cashner went six excellent innings and only gave up one run. Jesse Hahn was even better for the A’s, going seven innings and giving up one run. Keone Kela kept the game close with two scoreless innings and the Rangers were down one run in the bottom of the 9th.
Mike Napoli came up big, similar to the way Rougie Odor did, by driving in the tying run to make the game 2-2. Joey Gallo played Mike Napoli’s role this time, hitting a monster walkoff homer. Gallo’s homer was an extreme pull to right field, like most of his homers. The homer struck the foul pole and was very high, just like Napoli’s. The Rangers won another close game with late inning heroics and good pitching, 5-2.
5/13 – Game 2 against the A’s – Nick Martinez faced off against Ranger killer Sonny Gray. Both of them turned in quality starts. The Rangers trailed by a run going into the 7th inning. Despite Tony Barnette giving up a run in the top of the frame, the Rangers managed to take the lead on a four run 8th inning. Nomar Mazara hit a two run double to get the Rangers the lead and Matt Bush successfully closed the game out. Elvis Andrus was excellent at the plate, logging three RBIs. Andrus setup Mazara to blow the game open in the 8th. Robinson Chirinos hit cleanup due to his team leading batting average, and he got a hit and a walk.
5/14 – Game 3 against the A’s – The Rangers looked to complete the sweep against A’s ace Kendall Graveman. AJ Griffin got the start for the Rangers. AJ was below average, giving up three walks and three homers. He lasted five innings. Graveman managed to take a 4-2 lead into the 7th. Carlos Gomez made another excellent speed play to steal a run at home, and chased the A’s ace from the game. Ryan Madson came in and immediately gave away the 4-3 Oakland lead to an Elvis Andrus double. Similar to the last game, Mazara followed Elvis with a lead-earning clutch hit, making it 5-4. After an insurance run, Matt Bush successfully closed the game once again. The Rangers completed the sweep of their division rival and hold the best win streak in the MLB. 6-4.
A few takeaways from the best week of the season this year: Delino DeShields and Carlos Gomez are nightmares on the basepaths for the other team. Mike Napoli seems to be hitting his stride. AJ Griffin is quietly filling the void left by Cole Hamels. The Rangers lead the MLB in quality starts with 24. A quality start is when the starting pitcher lasts at least six innings and gives up three runs or less. Shin-Soo Choo is playing very well, despite missing the final game of the week with back stiffness. Joey Gallo continues to be the explosive walk/homer/strikeout style corner infielder. Gallo’s style of play is similar to that of Adam Dunn. The Rangers will take their six game win streak to Detroit after they play a three game set at home against the Phillies.
Upcoming Schedule – All Times Central
5/16 vs Phillies 7:05 p.m.
5/17 vs Phillies 7:05 p.m.
5/18 vs Phillies 1:05 p.m.
5/19 @Tigers 6:10 p.m.
5/20 @Tigers 6:15 p.m.
5/21 @Tigers 7:00 p.m.