He had it all working. Except for the first pitch he throw to Luis Valbuena which was scorched over the right centerfield wall in about a second and a half, Wandy Rodriguez had what could be the best start of any Ranger this season.
If it wasn’t the best, it was the most important.
It allowed the Rangers to get the world’s biggest monkey off their backs. A win after a win.
It seems like such a small thing, but it’s huge for a team that has been a train wreck for the first five weeks of the season.
The Rangers were the only team, in fact, that hadn’t won two in a row or hadn’t won a series, and they accomplished both of those in one fell swoop.
Kyle Blanks, whom I mockingly said would win Rangers Player of the Week after his less than stellar first game last week, hit his third home run in six games, and has seemed to secure a stronghold at first base. Poor always injured Mitch Moreland just can’t seem to catch a break.
But this game belonged to Wandy Rodriguez, with eight strikeouts in eight dominating innings. In the second inning, he loaded the bases with his only walk, bringing up Jose Altuve, the last hitter any pitcher wants to face, let alone with bases loaded. The first pitch, Altuve hit deep about ten rows up. But foul.
Altuve ended up grounding out.
Not a single Astro reached base after that point.
Wandy Rodriguez retired the last nineteen batters he faced before turning it over to Shawn Tolleson, who retired all three he faced.
Houston got just three hits and one run. It sure looks better when it’s the other team doing that.