Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Game thoughts: Pitching keys 4-2 win
By Richard Durrett
ARLINGTON -- Some brief thoughts on tonight's game. Ranger reaction to come shortly. Check out a replay of our in-game chat from Tuesday.
* C.J. Wilson looked in full command for the first four innings. He got into a little trouble in the fifth, but some of that was just well-placed balls from the White Sox. He limited the damage, allowing one run in the fifth to take a 3-1 lead to the sixth. Then the real problems began. He hit Gordon Beckham in the ankle on an 0-2 pitch to lead off the inning. A couple of singles and a walk loaded the bases with two outs in a 3-2 game.
Wilson then showed some real grit. He fell behind on catcher Donny Lucy, who played in Double-A last season, 3-0. But he threw fastballs and got the count to 3-2. Lucy then did a good job of fighting off pitches and Wilson finally got him on a strikeout to end the inning. He pumped his fist and headed off the mound.
* Wilson ended up with his fourth consecutive quality start to begin this 2010 season, the first Ranger to do that to start a season since 1993 when Kevin Brown and Charlie Leibrandt did it. Brown ended up with six quality starts to start that season. Wilson allowed two runs on five hits in 6 innings. He had three walks and five strikeouts. His ERA is now a very impressive 1.75.
* On a night when the Rangers shuffled things at catcher, sending Taylor Teagarden to the minors and promoting Max Ramirez (and optioning Jarrod Saltalamacchia to Triple-A Oklahoma City to get some game action in because he's still not ready to return), Matt Treanor becomes the starter and sure looked like it on Tueday. He hit solo homer in the second to give the Rangers the lead and all but sprinted around the bases after doing it. Two innings later, he hit a double to left to score two more runs.
* With Neftali Feliz not available, RHP Frank Francisco got the chance to get the save. He threw his curve, split and fastball. And though he touched 93 only once, he made good pitches and showed solid command. Will that tempt the Rangers to go back to Francisco as the closer? We'll see.
* DH Ryan Garko got his first hit in 14 at-bats as a Ranger, singling in the sixth following the tense inning in the top half.
* 1B Justin Smoak got his first RBI in the sixth, hitting a sacrifice fly to center to score Vladimir Guerrero from third. That made it a 4-2 game and gave the Rangers a little momentum after giving up two runs in the sixth. He also showed off his glove, making a nice pick in the dirt on a Michael Young throw in the first inning.
* SS Elvis Andrus discovered how good Mark Buehrle's pickoff move is in the third inning. He got on via an error by Gordon Beckham, who probably knew he had to hurry a slow roller to second and bobbled it. But Andrus was caught as Buehrle immediately went to first on the pick off move. And it ended a possible threat for the Rangers with Andrus on with one out and Michael Young at the plate.
* OF Josh Hamilton had a double and single to start his night. But he also showed some good play in the field with his arm. In the sixth, Paul Konerko hit a long fly ball of the wall with a runner at first. Hamilton played it well off the wall and threw a bullet to second to keep Konerko at first. Then, Alex Rios hit a fly out to shallow left and Hamilton made another good throw to keep the runner at third from going home.
* Dustin Nippert came in for the seventh and made a nice fielding play, getting a ground ball back to the mound and throwing to second, where Andrus quickly got the ball onto first for a double play even with the speedy Juan Pierre running to first. He also looked great on the mound, getting everything over, including some nice changeups and curves. That might have been Nippert's best outing of the season. He faced six batters and had two strikeouts. Very impressive.
* Vladimir Guerrero got his first start in right field this season and he made a nice throw in the sixth to home that held the White Sox to one run on a single to right, which kept it a one-run game. Paul Konerko was at third and thought about going home, but didn't because of Guerrero's throw.
* Bench coach Jackie Moore is still away from the team dealing with the passing of his daughter, Sherry Moore Parker. The services are in Houston later this week. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Friends for Life, PO Box 70575, Houston, TX 77270 (713-861-9500).