Friday, May 13, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 4, Angels 1
By Richard Durrett
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers got a nice win on Friday, beating Jered Weaver in a 4-1 win over the Angels. That brings them a 1/2 game back of the first-place Angels in the AL West. Alexi Ogando was dominant once again. Some thoughts (more from the clubhouse shortly):
* That has to be one of the biggest wins of the year considering the Rangers has struggled the last few weeks, felt like they were getting better the last few days and then beat a pitcher of Weaver's ability.
* Texas played a solid game all the way around. They made good defensive plays, pitched well and got four runs off Weaver, which isn't easy to do. That's the type of game that was missing the last few weeks.
* Alexi Ogando went 6 1/3 innings and allowed one run on five hits. He had all of his pitches working and had good velocity. The TV cameras spotted him working on his blister after the fifth inning and that may have contributed to him coming out of the game after 99 pitches despite handling the Angels' hitters pretty well. He did give up a double and a long fly ball to center in the seventh.
* After skipping a start, everyone was curious how Ogando would look early. He hit 95 mph in the first and had two strikeouts in the first inning, getting his outing off on the right foot.
* The first time Ogando faced a hitter with a runner in scoring position was the fifth inning. And Ogando got Peter Bourjos to ground into a double play. It was the first time this season that the speedy Bourjos grounded into a double play. (Elvis Andrus got the ground ball, stepped on second and threw to first.)
* He faced another runner in scoring position in the sixth, garnering a visit from pitching coach Mike Maddux. Ogando then got the next two batters on just two pitches -- Torii Hunter flied out to left and Howie Kendrick grounded out to short.
* Julio Borbon came out in the seventh inning with a strained left hamstring. He went back to make a catch, turned to throw and immediately grabbed his left hamstring. Mitch Moreland was waving at the dugout for a trainer to come out. He will have an MRI tomorrow. Endy Chavez was taken out of the game in Round Rock. The Rangers will have to make a move to get Chavez on the 40-man roster.
* Michael Young has now hit safely in 27 0f his last 31 games after a single in the first. Clearly, it doesn't matter where he hits in the lineup (was cleanup again on Friday). Young also made a nice play in the field, scampering across the first base line to get a ball that was barely fair and then sprinting to the bag to get the out.
* Young also got yet another hit with a runner in scoring position with a double in the fourth. That put him at 20-for-37 (.540) with runners in scoring position this season.
* Ian Kinsler made a nice play in the first, charging a slow roller and having the presence of mind to throw to second even though the ball didn't get to him quickly. He got the lead runner and the Rangers got out of the inning with no issues.
* Andrus' home run in the first was his second long ball of the season. And it barely got out , going 367 feet (he needed all of those feet) to left. Andrus had no homers in 2010, so this is already a big improvement. BTW, Andrus had six homers in 2009.
* Adrian Beltre also hit a solo shot, making it a 4-1 game with his homer in the sixth. Weaver allowed two homers coming into the game and gave up two in the same night.
* The Rangers added a run in the fifth when Andrus earned his second RBI, singling with two outs. It put him at 12-for-34 with RISP. The Rangers did the little things to make it happen. Yorvit Torrealba got his bat on a ball on a hit-and-run to advance the runner to second with one out and then Andrus eventually got him home.
* Cody Eppley got both of the batters he faced on a ground out to second and a pop up to second to end the seventh.
* Darren Oliver came in for the eighth and got all three batters he faced to get the game to closer Neftali Feliz, who got the save. The Angels hit some balls hard off Feliz, but he got through it.
* Beltre is fun to watch. He charged a bunt down the third-base line in the ninth, barehanded it and made an off-balance, yet accurate throw to first.
* Chris Davis replaced Young at first base for defensive purposes in the ninth inning.
* There are less than 2,000 reserved seats left for Saturday's game and about 3,500 for Sunday's game. Looks like another well-attended Rangers home weekend.
* The Rangers have hired Dave Oliver, who was the third-base coach in Texas from 1987 to 1994, as a special assistant in the baseball operations department. GM Jon Daniels likes different sets of eyes and ears and Oliver will provide that.