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Saturday, June 25, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Mets 14, Rangers 5

By Richard Durrett

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Alexi Ogando didn't have his best stuff for a third straight start and the Rangers' long relievers also ran into trouble in a 14-5 Mets win that also featured an odd at-bat for Nelson Cruz in which he actually walked, but didn't know it. The umpires and the Rangers' bench didn't notice that the Mets were given an extra ball and Cruz ended up striking out. More on that later. Some quick reaction from today's game (more to come from the clubhouse shortly):

* After an incredible start to the season, Ogando's progress has certainly slowed his last three outings. Saturday was the latest example. He gave up six runs (three earned) on eight hits in three innings of work. He threw 76 pitches and only 48 were strikes. Even before the start, he had pitched about 10 more innings in 2011 than he did all of 2010 between the majors and minors. Is the workload taking a toll?

*Are his struggles the last three starts going to cost him an All-Star Game spot? Even before Saturday, Ogando was struggling. He pitched just 1 2/3 innings in Yankee Stadium on June 14 and then followed that up by needing 104 pitches to get through five innings in the heat and humidity in Atlanta last Sunday. He needed an IV after the game and admitted he didn't take enough fluids before the game. So after starting the season 7-0 with a 2.10 ERA, Ogando is 0-3 with a 9.31 ERA in his last three starts.

* Ogando couldn't seem to keep his fastball down enough on Saturday and it hurt him. The lack of fastball command helped the Mets jump out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first. Ogando gave up consecutive hits to left field to Jose Reyes and Willie Harris to start the game and then watched both of them score on a triple by Carlos Beltran that ended an 0-for-10 streak for the Mets right fielder. Ogando's first out was a sacrifice fly off the bat of Daniel Murphy.

*Ogando was able to throw his off-speed stuff for strikes, but without the fastball, it was difficult to get hitters out consistently. He got himself into trouble again in the third, as the first two batters got on base. With no outs, Murphy hit a hard chopper back to Ogando. The pitcher threw to third, where Adrian Beltre wasn't quite ready for the throw, but caught it and made the tag. But Ogando should have thrown to second to start a double-play. Turns out the Mets got three runs with two outs in the inning as Lucas Duda's second double of the game scored two and the Mets added another run on a Jason Pridie single.

* Cruz walked back to the dugout in the second inning after an apparent strikeout. But as the TV broadcast showed, Cruz was thrown four balls and didn't get a walk. Home plate umpire MikeDiMuro didn't notice. It didn't appear the Rangers bench or Cruz himself did either. Very strange. So instead of two on with no outs for the Rangers, it was the first out of the inning. The Rangers didn't score.

* Josh Hamilton used some new contact lenses Saturday in the hopes of improving his hitting issues during the day. But Hamilton struck out in all four at-bats, seeing 17 pitches -- 15 of them strikes. According to an AP photographer on the field, Hamilton took out his contact lenses before his final at-bat. Hamilton is now hitting .293.

*Michael Young extended his hitting streak to 11 games. He is batting .404 (19-for-47) with three homers, eight RBIs and three doubles during the stretch. Young has three homers in his last four games.

*Adrian Beltre hit his second homer in as many games in the fourth. The trend comes after he had a 13-game homerless drought.

* Ian Kinsler had two more walks Saturday, bringing his season total to a team-high 46. That's 22 more walks than the next highest Ranger (Mike Napoli).

* Dave Bush and Michael Kirkman pitched the rest of the game for the Rangers, giving up eight runs combined. Kirkman was a workhorse, going four innings.

* Stat of the day: Ogando doesn't like pitching against teams from New York. As our friends at ESPN Stats & Information noted on twitter, he has a 11.45 ERA in three starts against NY teams this season and a 1.69 ERA in his 12 other starts.