ARLINGTON, Texas – It wasn’t a work of art, and it won’t increase confidence that Scott Feldman will revert to his 2009 form.
But it was a win.
With the Rangers’ bullpen sorely in need of some rest, Feldman found a way to last six innings in the 13-7 win over the Orioles, snapping a personal six-start winless drought for last season's ace.
The innings total might be the most important stat for the Rangers’ starting rotation these days, considering no American League bullpen has pitched more than Texas’. Feldman’s other stats certainly weren’t impressive Thursday night, when he allowed four runs on 12 hits.
It’s not like the Rangers needed a pitching gem to win a game in which eight Texas players had at least two hits.
Other observations from the Rangers’ win:
**Justin Smoak’s first night off as a big leaguer couldn’t have gone much better. He didn’t get the whole night off, coming in as a defensive replacement during the eighth inning. He snapped out of an 0-for-11 slump in the bottom of the inning with an RBI single up the middle.
**Not sure who loves hitting in the ballpark in Arlington more: Vladimir Guerrero or Nelson Cruz. Guerrero, the longtime Rangers killer who has quickly become a fan favorite, is hitting .396 with eight homers and 23 RBIs in 24 home games this season. Cruz’s numbers in 14 home games: .432 with five homers and 18 RBIs.
**Can a guy hitting .238 be considered hot? That’s the case for David Murphy, who went 3-for-5 tonight and is 17-for-52 in the last 13 games. His average was .151 before that stretch.
**Elvis Andrus got a little hometown help on his second hit. He beat it out after second baseman Ty Wigginton mishandled a short hop. Considering that Wigginton had to move only a few feet to his right, it sure looked like an error from my perch in the press box. It’s not like Andrus, who ranks among AL leaders in batting average, on-base percentage and stolen bases and has played Gold Glove-caliber defense, needs any help in his All-Star campaign.
**Joaquin Arias wasn’t a train wreck during his first big league start at first base. He didn’t commit any errors. But he didn’t exactly look comfortable over there, either.