Rapid Reaction: Angels 4, Rangers 1
April, 20, 2011
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Jered Weaver was impressive, giving up just one run on six hits in nine innings as the Angels beat the Rangers, 4-1. The loss puts the Rangers one game behind the Angels in the AL West.
* This is the first time the Rangers have been one full game behind in the AL West since May 31, 2010.
* The Rangers lost a third straight series after dropping two of three to the Tigers, Yankees and now Angels.
* Weaver had a strikeout in each of the first eight innings he pitched. He didn't get into much trouble, had excellent fastball command and great movement on his breaking stuff. Weaver continues to put up some of the best numbers in the league.
* Matt Harrison threw everything in his arsenal Wednesday and really mixed things up. He started some at-bats with changeups, wasn't afraid to throw his breaking stuff and if he needed to blow a fastball by somebody, for the most part he could.
* Harrison's first hit allowed also eliminated any chance at a shutout. Howie Kendrick, who had 10 homers all of last season, hit his sixth of 2011 over the left field wall on a 1-2 pitch that Harrison got up in the zone to lead off the fourth inning. Harrison settled down and got the next three outs without much trouble.
* Harrison lost his command a bit in the fifth inning with back-to-back walks to Maicer Izturis and Howie Kendrick. That loaded the bases in a 2-0 game, but Harrison got aggressive, quit nibbling and struck out Torii Hunter to end the inning.
* Harrison got a tough break in the seventh. Adrian Beltre tried to make a diving stop to his left on a sharply-hit ball by Maicer Izturis, but the ball went off Beltre's glove and Elvis Andrus couldn't get to it. That allowed Jeff Mathis to score from second to make it 3-1 Angels.
* Weaver has a very good pickoff move and we saw it in the first inning, as he kept throwing over to first after Andrus hit an infield single. Weaver finally got Andrus on a nice throw with Andrus leaning. That snuffed out any attempt at an early run.
* Weaver was in rhythm and on his game Wednesday. He threw some nasty sliders (see Ian Kinsler's strikeout in the sixth), had his fastball command on target and stayed out of trouble.
* Andrus' start didn't get much better with an errant throw to allow Vernon Wells on with a single. Harrison got a double play to make sure that runner didn't haunt the Rangers.
* Nelson Cruz came in to Wednesday's game just 2-for-15 in his last four games, and in his first at-bat against Weaver he got ahead in the count 3-0. But he took three straight swings, including missing a fastball that I think he would have hit earlier in the year and struck out. Cruz also struck out in the fourth. He doesn't look comfortable at the plate right now. Maybe few players need Thursday's off day more than Cruz.
* Mitch Moreland continues to have impressive at-bats. He laced a double off Weaver with one out in the third, but didn't score. Yorvit Torrealba hit a single to center, but Moreland wasn't sure if CF Peter Bourjos would catch it and got caught in between the bags and ended up going back to second. Kinsler struck out and Andrus grounded out as Weaver got out of the inning.
* Does Julio Borbon catch the ball that Bourjos hit for a triple in the fifth inning? The ball went over David Murphy and to the wall and Bourjos, who can fly, went to third. The Angels executed the squeeze play to score another run and make it 2-0. Harrison tried to glove the bunt and flip home, but it didn't appear he was going to get the runner in time. He was better off calmly getting the out at first. Instead, he rushed it, bobbled the ball and was charged with an error that put the runner at first.
* Bourjos made a great catch in center field, taking a home run away from David Murphy in the seventh inning. If you didn't see it, you will on SportsCenter.
* Michael Young extended his hitting streak to 11 games with his ninth double of the season. It was hit with two outs down the right field line and allowed Andrus to score from second to put the Rangers on the board in the sixth inning.
* Darren O'Day gave up a solo home run to Vernon Wells in the eighth, giving the Angels an additonal run to make it 4-1. O'Day, who struggled in spring training, hit two batters Wednesday, including Mark Trumbo directly in the back. He just seems out of whack.
* Neftali Feliz, who needed some work, pitched in the ninth and wasn't happy with some of the ball and strike calls. He got the first two batters out, but then walked Kendrick on a close pitch, followed by a walk to Hunter and a walk to Wells. Feliz, clearly frustrated, then got Alberto Callaspo to fly out to center to end the inning with no runs scored.
* Great crowd for a Wednesday night with 31,967 attending. Dollar Dog night couldn't have hurt.
* Both teams had DHs leading off. It's the first time that's happened since June 15, 2005 when Texas played Atlanta in Arlington (Gary Matthews Jr. led off as the DH).