Sunday, May 9, 2010
Ranger reax: Why stop when on a roll?
By Randy Jennings
So who needs an off day?
With a four-game winning streak under his belt after after Sunday's 6-4 win over the Kansas City Royals, the Texas Rangers' Ron Washington sounded like a manager who prefers to keep playing.
“It seems like when we started playing every day, that’s when things started falling in place,’’ said Washington.
The Rangers went 13-7 playing 20 games in 20 days. That stretch, which included trips to Boston, Seattle and Oakland, ends with Monday's off day. The Rangers open a three-game series at home against Oakland on Tuesday.
“We’re playing good baseball,’’ Washington said. “We’re playing Texas Rangers baseball, playing the game the way it ask you to play it, doing the little things. Today we had a sacrifice fly, a double steal, and the bullpen got the job done again.’’
Doug Mathis, who was the winning pitcher with two innings of scoreless relief, eludes the pink Mother's Day bat that slipped out of Jason Kendall's grasp.
* The bullpen provided five scoreless innings a day after turning in four innings without allowing a run. That came after a shaky performance Thursday and Friday’s complete game by C.J. Wilson, and it allowed the Rangers to sweep the four-game series.
“Sweeping a team is tough enough let alone a four-game series,’’ said reliever Darren Oliver. “Nine scoreless innings is pretty good.’’
* David Murphy went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and raised his batting average 32 points to .229.
His two-run double in the third gave the Rangers their first lead.
“That was one of my best swings and at-bats of the season,’’ Murphy said. “It was a fastball in, and that’s a pitch you have to stay with to drive.’’
Murphy pulled what turned out to be the final pitch by Royals starter Luke Hochevar into the wall in right center.
* Pitcher Scott Feldman said he was frustrated with his performance, which lasted only four innings.
“I’m just not pitching well,’’ he said. “I’ve got to get better. I’m in a bit of a slump and I’ve got to get myself out of it. We’ve got a good team here and I know I can do better than this.’’
Feldman’s manager is sticking with his 27-year-old Opening Day starter.
“We’ve got to keep giving him the ball until he figures it out,’’ Washington said. “He had a good breaking ball today and his pitches had movement. But he didn’t throw his change very well.''
* Neftali Feliz continues to look more comfortable in the closer’s role. He worked a 1-2-3 ninth, with help from center fielder Julio Borbon’s diving catch, for his ninth save. He came into the game tied for the league lead in saves.
“I’ve never been uncomfortable about using Feliz in back-to-back games,’’ Washington said.