Ranger Reax: Guerrero dominates
July, 1, 2010
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- If the Angels didn't miss Vladimir Guerrero before this series, they certainly miss him now.
The slugger pounded a 2-0 changeup from starter Scott Kazmir over the center-field fence for a grand slam, turning a 3-0 deficit into a 4-3 advantage in the fourth inning. He added another homer, a solo shot, in the eighth and drove in five of the club's six runs in a 6-4 win on Wednesday.
Guerrero says he doesn't have any added motivation this series in facing his former team in Angel Stadium for the first time this season.
"I'm just trying to do my job," Guerrero said through a translator. "I'm swinging the bat well and hitting it hard. I'm just trying to do the best job I can for the Rangers. I appreciate the years I had here, but I'm trying to do my job."
That job this season has been to collect RBIs in bunches. He now has 68 on the season, tied for the most in the majors with Miguel Cabrera. Eight of those RBIs have come in the last two games.
Guerrero has drilled his former team so far this series, going 6-for-10 with three homers and a double. He was 4-for-4 on Wednesday. It was the third multi-homer game of the season for Guerrero and the 42nd of his career. He now has seven grand slams.
When a reporter said that if Guerrero keeps this up the crowd, which has cheered him for the most part this series, might start booing, the slugger said, "I can't do anything about that."
Manager Ron Washington simply smiled and talked about how thankful he was to have Guerrero in a Ranger uniform.
"He's taken the ballgame over and I don't think the Anaheim Angels are surprised, they've seen him do it before," Washington said. "I'm just happy he's doing it for the Texas Rangers right now. The guy comes to play. When he sees something he likes up there, he usually barrels it up. He takes on the biggest part of the ballpark and the ball doesn't come down. I'm so happy he's a Texas Ranger."
Angels manager Mike Scoiscia marveled at what Guerrero has done so far this series.
"No doubt Vlad was seeing it tonight," Scoiscia said. "We didn't pitch him the way we wanted to. It's pretty obvious we haven't been doing a good job in trying to contain him. He's as dangerous as any hitter in the game right now."
* Omar Beltre admitted he was nervous to begin his major league debut. Who can blame him for that? He allowed a home run to the first batter he faced, Erick Aybar, becoming the first Ranger to give up a homer to his first big league hitter since Doug Davis in 1999. But he settled down enough to get through the third and fourth innings without allowing a run after falling behind 3-0.
"I feel good that the team won," Beltre said. "I was able to make a few good pitches after the first inning and get things under control. I felt good after the second."
Beltre said he learned that he "can't make too many mistakes" to big league hitters.
He smiled when asked how happy he was to see Guerrero's grand slam.
Washington said Beltre had too much energy and adrenaline to start the game.
"He was overthrowing his first two innings, but then he settled down and was hitting the strike zone," Washington said. "He showed some mound presence. He wasn't afraid to use all of his pitches. He needs to be consistent in the strike zone. I think he realizes now he has the stuff to compete up here. He can pitch up here. He's got the pitches."
Washington said the club hasn't determined whether Beltre will start again next time through the rotation. He said they'll talk about that in the coming days.
* Washington said he didn't want to bring Darren Oliver in the game in the seventh to face just one left-handed hitter (Hideki Matsui, who led off the inning). So the plan was to go with Dustin Nippert and then have Darren O'Day ready to back him up. Nippert got some good defense behind him and made it through the seventh. He gave the club three innings and got the game to Frank Francisco in the eighth.