The last two games the Rangers are firing on all cylinders. It’s just textbook Rangers baseball.
Get out to an early lead. Stay aggressive. Keep scoring. Get a quality start. Make a few base running mistakes.
For the second game in a row, Rangers hitters gave Rangers pitchers a 3-0 lead to work with. And when you have an early lead, you can pound the zone. Even if you can’t find it that well, like Martin Perez last night.
Perez wasn’t his best but when he really had to show up, he did.
So now the Rangers have won the first two against Seattle in pretty convincing fashion, and go for a sweep today.
Here is a countdown to today’s game.
11: For the first time this season, the Rangers are eleven games over .500. Eleven and rising. This lineup has some deep depth, that is only going to get deeper when Shin-Soo Choo comes back in a few weeks. And the news that A. J. Griffin threw a bullpen session yesterday, after throwing one on Thursday, is really encouraging for the pitching staff as well. And if Tom Wilhelmsen figured it out, like he discovered his two-seam fastball at Round Rock, then Pepto Bismol sales will finally decrease.
10: The Rangers scored ten runs yesterday on the strength of a very balanced attack. Every player in the lineup got a hit, except for Beltre, who did reach base on a walk. Everybody contributed up and down the lineup. Desmond picked up three hits, Profar two more. Odor, Rua and Andrus got two as well. The offense came early and often.
9: With yesterday’s win, the Rangers have now won nine straight home series this year, tying a franchise record set in 1993. Since losing two of three to Seattle to open the season, Texas has not lost a series at home. Recall last year when the Rangers could not buy a win at home, starting 4–16 and turning the Ballpark into their own house of horrors.
8: Ranger post-game announcer Jared Sandler had an interesting fact. The top three hitters in the batting order got on base last night eight times. That’s a terrific job of setting the table so the middle of the order can feast.
7: The middle three hitters in the Rangers order, also according to Sandler, reached base seven times. Which is significant because the bottom three in the Ranges order have been very productive this year. And also significant because for the first time in a long long time, Prince Fielder wasn’t in that top or middle three.
6: The bottom three, in fact, reached base six times and were responsible for breaking the game open. After working with an early lead, Perez couldn’t hold the Mariners. But he didn’t give them much either. Just a single run in the second, third, and fourth. It was still a really close game in the fifth, just 5-3, when Mitch Moreland, who had already surprised nobody by striking out his first two times, came to bat with runners on first and second. On the first pitch, with both runners going, he slapped a perfectly executed hit-and-run single right through the hole vacated at second, driving in a run and taking a huge weight off a game that looked like it might go south. Elvis Andrus followed with a home run to ensure the game stayed won for good. In every aspect of the game, Andrus is having his best season.
5: The Rangers scored a run in five of their eight innings. With Odor back in the middle of the lineup, Profar at the top, and Prince Fielder out of it for now, the Rangers offense clicked.
4. Martin Perez looked like he was going to fold early. Banister said he couldn’t find his east/west, meaning his control on both corners was off, but with the game on the line, and his pitch count mounting, he got through Cano and Cruz in the fifth before giving up a single to Lee. Then he got Rangers Killer Kyle Seager. It was his best inning and, more importantly, it allowed him to go out and pitch one more.
3: Because Perez went six, the Rangers bullpen had to go only three. Banister played it wisely this time by using the B-Team: Cesar Ramos for two and Tom Wilhemsen for one.
2: Banister said he was probably going to give Fielder two games off to “unplug.” That means don’t expect to see him today. Unless it’s late in the game in a pinch running role.
1: Win this one today and the Rangers sweep Seattle, making a nice early June statement about who is the top team in the West.
Hisashi Iwakuma (4-4, 4.41) vs. Derek Holland (4-4, 4.78)
Game time: 2:05 pm