Texas Rangers: Cleveland Indians
Murphy said he was not offered any kind of firm contract from the Rangers prior to the 2013 season, though the two sides discussed the possibility. Murphy said that once he had a phone conversation with general manager Jon Daniels after the season, he got the sense that his best course of action was to try to find work with another team.
Murphy said Texas was the "perfect" opportunity for him to show he could be a reliable outfielder at the big-league level.
"I'm extremely thankful and feel extremely blessed every day I wore a Texas uniform," Murphy said. "I was trying to get my foot in the door and earn a full-time big-league job. At the time, the Rangers weren't a great team and there was a lot of opportunity for young guys. We only got better and better each year. The only thing that would have made my time in Texas completely perfect is winning those World Series or winning one of those World Series. But most players don't have the chance to play in one World Series, let along two."
Murphy struggled in 2013, hitting .220 with a .282 on-base percentage and .374 slugging percentage. All three of those were career lows. He said he tried to add power to his game instead of "being himself" and that it impacted his season.
He also admitted that he learned a lot about social media in that his daughter, Faith, broke the news at her daycare and when Murphy confirmed to some parents and teachers, it hit Twitter. Murphy said Faith was talking about Pilgrims and Indians as part of Thanksgiving and that's when his daughter mentioned her dad was going to play for the Indians.
If the three clubs are tied after Sunday’s games, then the tie will be broken by two games based on the teams' combined winning percentages in head-to-head competition against one another in the regular season.
The Indians would host the Rays on Monday, with the winner earning an AL wild-card berth.
The losing club in Monday’s game would play against the Rangers in Texas on Tuesday, with the winner earning the other AL wild-card spot.
In the event of a two-team tie for one wild-card berth, the tiebreaker game would be played Monday and hosted by the club that won the season series.
TBS and ESPN Radio will provide exclusive coverage of tiebreaker and wild-card games.
The Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians and Tampa Bay Rays are fighting for two wild-card spots in the American League and go into a weekend where scoreboard watching will be unavoidable.
The Rangers, of course, are in the most precarious position, needing to win and get help to make it to the postseason. Tampa Bay, winners of seven straight, is on the verge of clinching a wild-card spot, standing one game ahead of the Indians and two ahead of the Rangers with three games left to go.
The Indians, also on a seven-game winning streak, are a game ahead of the Rangers.
Here's how the weekend sets up for all of the contenders:
Next up: Friday-Sunday vs. Los Angeles Angels
Opponents' record: The Angels are 78-81.
The latest: The Rangers have won four straight games and picked up no ground in the wild card race. They couldn't ask for more with the three starters they send to the mound this weekend -- Alexi Ogando, Derek Holland and Yu Darvish.
Forecast: The key game is Friday night. If Ogando can beat C.J. Wilson -- and his record against the Angels is tremendous and Wilson's against the Rangers is awful -- then look for Texas to win the last three games and get to 91 wins. Will it be enough?
Rays (90-69, .566, in lead for first wild-card spot)
Next up: Friday-Sunday at Toronto Blue Jays
Opponents' record: The Blue Jays are 72-87 and have lost two straight games.
The latest: The Rays swept a three-game series against the lifeless New York Yankees. Tampa Bay has won at least 90 games in four straight season and five of the last six, both the most in the majors.
Forecast: The Rays got back to .500 on the road at 39-39 with the sweep of the Yankees. Friday's game against Toronto will be interesting. Unpredictable knuckleballer R.A. Dickey could send the Rays' suspect offense into a bad place. The Blue Jays will startle the Rays and win two out of three games as Tampa Bay ends up with 91 wins, same as the Rangers.
Indians (89-70, .560, in lead for second wild-card spot)
Next up: Friday-Sunday at Minnesota
Opponents' record: The Twins are 66-93 and have lost three straight.
The latest: The Indians roll on as veterans such as Nick Swisher and Jason Giambi have had crucial hits this week. Michael Brantley also has been red hot for the Indians.
Forecast: The Cleveland bullpen could be in shambles, at least for Friday night. Closer Chris Perez allowed four runs and got only two outs before being pulled for Joe Smith, who finished off a 6-5 win over the Twins. Look for a carryover. The Indians will still win two out of three games and end up with 91 wins, just like the Rangers and Indians, forcing a three-way tie for the wild cards.
The already struggling Texas offense completely bottomed out on Sunday in Cleveland as the Rangers were shut out for the second consecutive game, losing 6-0 at Jacobs Field.
Offense in a trance: The Rangers come home having not scored in 21 consecutive innings. They have eight hits in 68 at-bats during that span. The slump runs throughout the lineup and the club comes home with a lot of questions to answer with the trade deadline three days away.
And the hitters were... Elvis Andrus had a one-out double in the first inning, extending his hitting streak against the Indians to 37 games, the third-longest streak against one team since 1945. Andrus was stranded at second after Nelson Cruz walked and Adrian Beltre grounded into a double play. A.J. Pierzynski had the other hit, a single to lead off the fifth inning.
Top of the 5th: The Rangers had a great chance to take the lead in the top of the fifth. Pierzynski had a single and David Murphy had a walk. Jurickson Profar followed with a sacrifice bunt to put two runners in scoring position. The inning fizzled. Mitch Moreland popped up to shortstop. Moreland is a disastrous 2-for-36 since the All-Star break. Leonys Martin grounded out to first base to end the inning. Martin has nine hits in his past 46 at-bats.
Ogando is OK: Alexi Ogando allowed a run in 4 2/3 innings in his second game since coming off the disabled list. He left with the Rangers trailing 1-0. Still, Ogando needs to be able to pitch deeper into games to be a starter. He threw 92 pitches and was lifted in the fifth inning on a day where the bullpen didn't have it. Ogando has gone past six innings twice in 12 starts this season. That's not going to get it done.
Terrible route: The Rangers probably had no chance to overcome a 1-0 deficit the way their offense is going. But having already allowed a run in the bottom of the sixth, Martin misplayed a drive to center field by the Indians' Michael Bourn that turned into a two-run double and a 4-0 deficit for the Rangers.
Ross doesn't have it: Robbie Ross allowed three runs in 1 1/3 innings. He was hurt by another left-handed hitter as Bourn broke the game open with his double.
Up next: The Rangers come home for a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels, who put first baseman Albert Pujols on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday. The starters for the Rangers-Angels series are on Monday night, right-hander Matt Garza (1-0, 0.00) versus right-hander Jered Weaver (5-5, 2.98) at 6:05 p.m. on ESPN, Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM; on Tuesday, left-hander Derek Holland (8-6, 3.06) against left-hander C.J. Wilson (11-6, 3.08); and on Wednesday, left-hander Martin Perez (3-3, 4.37) against right-hander Jerome Williams (5-7, 4.85).
Ogando (4-2, 3.13): Ogando makes his second starts since coming off the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation ... He'll pitched on four days rest after throwing 78 pitches in a start against the Yankees ... Ogando allowed three runs in five innings ... Ogando has allowed more than two earned runs only twice in his 11 starts ... He's pitched more than six innings only twice this season ... He has made eight road starts, going 2-2 with a 3.27 ERA ... He has limited left-handed hitters to a career-low .188 batting average ... Ogando has received one more or less of run support in six starts ... He is 3-0 with a 0.84 in eight games/two starts, his lowest ERA in the American League.
Jimenez (7-5, 4.49): Jimenez makes his 200th career start ... He had a three-game winning streak snapped on Monday at Safeco Field, allowing two earned runs in 5 2/3 innings ... He has allowed three earned runs or less in 10 of his last 11 starts ... Cleveland is 13-7 in his starts, winning six of eight and seven of the last 10 games he's started ... Jimenez will face the Rangers for the second time this season ... He allowed one earned run but needed 100 pitches to get through five innings.
Hitters: Adrian Beltre (6-for-14, 1 HR, 4 RBIs) and Ian Kinsler (4-for-11, 3 2Bs, 2 RBIs) have had success against Jimenez. The current Indians are batting .143 against Ogando. Asdrubal Cabrera has two hits in three at-bats against him.
Texas fell to five games out of first place in the American League West. The Rangers are 2-7 since the All-Star break. They have scored three or fewer runs in six of the nine games.
Darvish on K binge: Darvish allowed a leadoff home run to Michael Bourn, then went on a strikeout binge that drove up his pitch count and his season strikeout total. Darvish had 11 strikeouts in six innings. It's his seventh double-digit strikeout game of the season, most in the majors. He also retook the major league lead in strikeouts from the New York Mets' Matt Harvey with 172.
Pitch count police: Darvish threw 123 pitches, the most he's thrown in a game since the controversial 130 he threw on May 16 against Detroit. The most Darvish had thrown in a game since then was 117 pitches on June 30 against Cincinnati.
Masterson dominates: Indians starter Justin Masterson was 0-4 against the Rangers before Saturday night. He changed that with a dominating effort. Masterson allowed five hits and one walk in 7 2/3 innings. Texas didn't have an extra-base hit against a pitcher who had a 6.49 ERA against the team entering the game.
Almost doesn't count: The Rangers put together a rally in the top of the fifth when Geovany Soto had a one-out single and Ian Kinsler was hit by a pitch with two outs. That brought up rookie Engel Beltre, who hit a smash into left field for a base hit. The only problem is Beltre hit it too well, and with Soto not a fast runner and Indians right fielder Drew Stubbs possessing a strong throwing arm, the Rangers' catcher had to stop at third base. Nelson Cruz ended the threat with a fielder's choice groundout to shortstop.
Not in the first: Cruz and Adrian Beltre both got ahead in the count 3-0 against Masterson and didn't get on base with Engel Beltre already on base. Cruz grounded out and Adrian Beltre struck out as the Rangers again didn't score in the first inning. With Cleveland scoring its only run in the first, Texas has been outscored in the opening inning, 50-26.
Up next: The Rangers finish up a three-game road series in Cleveland when right-hander Alexi Ogando (4-2, 3.13) faces right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (7-4, 4.49) at 12:05 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest, ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540-AM. Texas opens a three-game series at home Monday against the Los Angeles Angels with an early start of 6:05 p.m.
Darvish (9-4, 2.86): Darvish came off the disabled list and picked up his ninth win of the season as the Rangers beat the Yankees 3-0 ... Darvish didn't allow a run in 6 1/3 innings, finishing with four strikeouts and two walks ... He threw 90 pitches, 60 for strikes ... Darvish took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, allowing a single to Lyle Overbay ... Darvish's two hits allowed were the least he's allowed since his near-perfect game in his first start of the season in Houston ... Darvish has an American League-best eight starts with six innings pitched while allowing three hits or fewer ... Darvish has allowed 15 home runs, one more than he allowed last season ... Darvish suffered his first major league loss at Progressive Field on May 6, 2012 in which all 28 batters he faced hit left-handed ... He is 3-1 with a 2.83 in seven road starts this season.
Masterson (11-7, 3.60): Masterson will make his 22nd start of the season and will have an extra day of rest ... He won his 11th game on Sunday at Minnesota, allowing a run in seven innings ... Masterson allowed a hit, had eight strikeouts and no walks while throwing 93 pitches ... He had a no-hitter into the seventh inning before the Twins' Brian Dozier broke it up with a leadoff double ... According to Elias Sports Bereau, Masterson was the first American League pitcher to allow no more than one hit with no walks and at least eight strikeouts since Darvish did it in the start against the Astros ... Masterson has never beaten the Rangers, going 0-4 with a 6.49 ERA.
Hitters: Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has a home run and two walks in his three plate appearances against Darvish. David Murphy is 4-for-4 with two home runs against Masterson.
The Texas Rangers made a spirited comeback Friday night in Cleveland. They also lost.
Texas rallied from a seven-run deficit to tie the game, but Ryan Raburn crushed a three-run home run off Jason Frasor in the bottom of the 11th as the Indians prevailed 11-8 at Progressive Field.
Stunning finish: Frasor had pitched very well for two innings, but manager Ron Washington elected to use him for a third inning and the veteran right-handed reliever didn't get an out in the inning. He allowed singles to Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana, setting up Raburn's walk-off homer down the left-field line.
Huge comeback: The Rangers trailed 7-1 in the fifth inning and came all the way back to tie the game in the top of the eighth. They scored in four straight innings, starting with an RBI single by Ian Kinsler in the fifth and ending with his two-run single in the eighth to tie the score at 8-8.
Keeping the pressure on: The Rangers cut the Indians' lead to 8-6 in the top of the seventh and actually brought the go-ahead run to the plate in the person of A.J. Pierzynski. Elvis Andrus chopped a single and Leonys Martin followed with a base hit to start the inning. They pulled off a double steal to put runners in scoring position. Kinsler followed with a sacrifice fly to deep center to make it 8-5. Engel Beltre made it 8-6 with a single down the left-field line, but made a crucial baserunning mistake getting thrown out at second -- especially when Cruz walked and Adrian Beltre singled. Pierzynski lined out to first base to end the threat.
Tying the game: Kinsler's game-tying two-run single in the top of the eighth was set up when David Murphy had a single and Andrus was hit by a pitch with one out. Martin tried to bunt his way on base but was out at first, moving the tying runs to second and third. Kinsler came through with his big hit to right field.
Elvis a Tribe killer: Andrus continued his amazing run against Cleveland, extending his hitting streak against the Indians to 35 games with his single in the seventh. It's the third longest streak against one team dating back to 1945. Andrus is tied with Ken Griffey Jr, who had a 35-game hitting streak against Cleveland from May 1992 to August 1996.
Perez gets hit hard: Martin Perez didn't have it from the start Friday night, allowing eight hits in 3 1/3 innings. Nick Swisher got it started with a home run in the first inning. Perez unraveled in the fourth inning. The first five Indians reached base on four singles and a walk. The Rangers also played shoddy defense in the inning with two errors. Perez allowed six earned runs and had two walks and two wild pitches.
Lack of execution: The Rangers had a chance make it a one-run game at 3-2 in the top of the fourth. After Mitch Moreland had barreled into Indians catcher Carlos Santana to cut the lead to 3-1 on Leonys Martin's sacrifice fly, Andrus got to third base when the ball got away from Santana. With one out, Kinsler didn't get the job done, popping up to second base and leaving Andrus at third. It continued a trend of brutal execution by the Rangers.
Cruz unleashed: Nelson Cruz, who slumped on the seven-game homestand, crushed his team-leading 24th home run of the season in the top of the sixth. It was Cruz's second home run since the All-Star break.
Rough night for A.J.: Pierzynski let three wild pitches get past him, at least two of which he had a chance to block. He also let a throw from the outfield get away from him. Pierzynski was 1-for-5 at the plate.
Up next: The Rangers will try to even the three-game series when right-hander Yu Darvish (9-4, 2.86) faces Tribe right-hander Justin Masterson (11-7, 3.60) at 6:05 p.m. Saturday. On Sunday, right-hander Alexi Ogando (4-2, 3.13) versus right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (7-4, 4.49) at 12:05 p.m. Both games will be televised on Fox Sports Southwest and broadcast on the radio on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540-AM.
The Rangers-Yankees series -- which ended in a split of four games -- had very little offense with the teams combining for 18 runs.
Texas-Cleveland could be a low-scoring weekend series. The Rangers have scored 17 runs since the All-Star break. The Tribe had scored 14 runs in five games before routing Seattle 10-1 on Wednesday.
Here's what to watch for:
Out for revenge: The Rangers lost two of three to Cleveland on June 10-12 in Arlington, so they'll have a chance for revenge at Jacobs Field. The Rangers lost both games 5-2, beginning a six-game losing streak in which they scored two or fewer runs in every game. The Rangers go to Cleveland back in offensive-futility mode again. They've scored two or fewer runs in seven of their last 12 games.
Tribe struggling too: Cleveland lost four out of six games on its road trip after the All-Star break, winning the series finales against Seattle and Minnesota. Defense was a big problem. The Indians made nine errors on the trip. Third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall has made four errors in four games.
Indians are pitching: Cleveland's pitching has been solid over a long stretch with a 3.60 ERA for the last 37 games going back to the June 11, when they beat the Rangers. Only Tampa Bay and Oakland have better staff ERA's during that span. Cleveland pitchers have allowed three home runs in the last 13 games.
Dominating the AL West: Cleveland is making an impact on the American League West race. The Indians are 13-4 against the West, including that 2-1 record against the Rangers. That's the best winning percentage against a division in the majors. All four losses have come on the road.
Kipnis stays hot: Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has come out of the break still hot, with five hits in 19 at-bats. He has two home runs, five RBIs and four runs since the All-Star break. Kipnis was the American League Player of the Month for June, batting .419 with four home runs, 25 RBIs and a .517 on-base percentage.
Perez (3-3, 3.40): Perez, who has taken a firm grasp on the fifth spot in the rotation, makes his eighth start of the season in Friday's series opener against the Indians ... Perez has been hit in his last two starts, allowing nine runs in 12 innings ... But he showed that he's maturing in the second inning of a 4-2 loss to Baltimore on Sunday, limiting the Orioles to two runs despite shaky defense ... He was down 2-0 and still had the bases loaded with no outs and got three straight outs, including a strikeout of Orioles phenom Manny Machado on four change-ups ... Perez is 3-2 with a 3.18 ERA in six starts since being called back up from Triple-A Round Rock.
Kluber (7-5, 3.69): Hopefully the second time around will help the Rangers against Kluber ... He shut them down on June 11 in Arlington, allowing a run in eight innings as the Indians cruised to a 5-2 victory ... Kluber held the Rangers to six hits and needed only 104 pitches to get through eight ... Kluber has put together three scoreless outings out of his seven starts since then ... He had 7 1/3 scoreless innings in a 3-0 victory over Kansas City on July 12, and in his first start since the All-Star break on Saturday limited the Minnesota Twins to three hits in five shutout innings ... The Twins did get him up to 93 pitches in that start ... Kluber has four wins in his last five decisions.
Hitters: Perez has made one appearance against Cleveland, facing one batter and issuing a four-pitch walk to Shin-Soo Choo. A.J. Pierzynski is 2-for-7 with a home run against Kluber.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Ian Kinsler and Mitch Moreland took batting practice before Wednesday's game as they continue working to return from the 15-day disabled list.
They can't get back soon enough.
By the way, that's an Indians club that had lost eight straight games -- and even worse, 12 in a row on the road -- before taking consecutive 5-2 victories from the Rangers on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Rangers could have used a little more from starting pitchers Nick Tepesch and Derek Holland, and the baserunning has been bad -- though not on Wednesday.
But the main culprit during a 4-7 June has been the offense.
And it's fair to say the Rangers miss their leadoff hitter, Kinsler, their catalyst and their first baseman, Moreland, who had 12 home runs before suffering a right hamstring strain last week in Boston.
"There's no doubt we're missing two key guys," said designated hitter Lance Berkman, who reached base three times in Wednesday's loss. "They were producing a lot of our offense. We've been without them now for a while."
The Rangers have to wait for Kinsler until Sunday at the earliest and Moreland on June 21. To get things turned around starting Thursday, others will have to contribute.
They need to get hits with runners in scoring position. June has not been kind to the Rangers, who as a collection of hitters have batted .172 with runners in scoring position. They have 15 hits in 11 games in those crucial situations.
A.J. Pierzynski on Tuesday night and Leonys Martin in the third inning on Wednesday.
"We're not doing a very good job of producing runs other than on home runs," Berkman said. "We've struggled with runners in scoring position. We're just not stringing together any hits."
Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez tried to help the cause with four walks. And the Rangers made some progress with better at-bats Wednesday night.
"We tried to not go too early tonight," Washington said of his team taking pitches and working some walks.
Left fielder David Murphy, who is having the toughest time of Rangers hitters while batting mostly in the No. 2 spot in the lineup, made the last out in two innings with runners on base. He also hit into a double play after Jurickson Profar singled in the third to follow Martin's home run.
Murphy came up as the tying run. He walked back to the dugout, the victim of a third double play in two nights. Murphy is batting .211 after Wednesday's 0-for-5 night.
"Double plays are rally-killers," Murphy said. "We have an idea of what we want to do. We just have to follow through with that idea."
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers' offense had another rough night as the Cleveland Indians made it two out of three victories at Texas with a 5-1 victory on Wednesday night at Rangers Ballpark.
The Rangers have lost three straight series going back to last week against Boston and fell a half-game behind Oakland pending the A's outcome against the Yankees.
Tepesch hit hard: A nice run by rookie starter Nick Tepesch was halted as the Indians rocked him for eight hits, two of them home runs, in his third-shortest outing of the season. Tepesch, a ground-ball pitcher, struggled to keep the ball down, allowing a two-run home run by Mike Aviles in the second inning to put the Rangers down 2-0. Tepesch allowed another home run to start the fifth inning to Jason Kipnis, putting the Rangers in a 4-1 hole. Tepesch also hit two batters and walked one, with two of those leading to runs.
Martin goes deep: Leonys Martin had his second hit in 20 at-bats, a solo home run to right-center field to cut the Indians' lead to 3-1 in the third inning. It was Martin's first home run since May 12 and his first RBI since May 31.
Offense fizzles: The Rangers drew four walks in five innings against Cleveland starter Ubaldo Jimenez and they didn't score any of them. The Rangers hit a low point in the bottom of the sixth. Lance Berkman walked and Adrian Beltre singled to start the inning and the Rangers failed to score. A.J. Pierzynski worked a full count but popped out to center field. Indians reliever Bryan Shaw came in and struck out Nelson Cruz with Berkman at third base, then got Jeff Baker to bounce into a fielder's choice to end the inning.
Murphy struggles again: A rough run for left fielder David Murphy continued on Wednesday night. He hit into his third double play in two days and went 0-for-5 for the game. Murphy has four hits in his past 34 at-bats. Murphy's batting average fell to .211, sixth lowest among all qualifiers in the American League.
Cruz gets hat trick: Nelson Cruz had three strikeouts in his final three at-bats, giving him 67 for the season as he moved closer to being in the top 10 in K's in the AL. He left three men on base.
Up next: The Rangers begin a four-game series as right-hander Yu Darvish (7-2, 2.75 ERA) faces Toronto right-hander Esmil Rogers (1-2, 3.80) at 7:05 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN-FM 103.3 and 1540-AM. The rest of the pitching matchups for the series are: Rangers right-hander Justin Grimm (5-4, 5.25) versus Mark Buehrle (2-4, 5.06) at 7:05 p.m. on Ch. 21; on Saturday, Rangers right-hander Josh Lindblom (0-1, 5.91) against right-hander Josh Johnson (0-2, 5.40) at 3:05 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest; and on Sunday, Rangers left-hander Derek Holland (5-3, 3.11) against Blue Jays right-hander R.A. Dickey (5-8, 5.11) at 2:05 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest. All games are broadcast on the radio at ESPN-FM 103.3 and 1540-AM.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers attempt to win their eighth series in 10 tries with Nick Tepesch going against Cleveland's Ubaldo Jimenez at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday night on Fox Sports Southwest, ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and ESPN Deportes Dallas 1540 AM.
|Neal Cotts joins Galloway & Company to discuss pitching for the Rangers.
Jimenez (4-4, 5.03 ERA): The 29-year-old right-hander is scheduled to make his 13th start of the season on four days' rest. ... In his last start, Jimenez pitched only 3.0 innings and allowed five runs (three earned) and seven hits in a 7-5 loss at Detroit. ... In six of eight starts this season, the 6-foot-5, 210-pounder has allowed two runs or fewer and is 1-1 with a 2.45 ERA in June. ... On the road, Jimenez is 2-1 with a 2.91 ERA in six appearances. ... Against the Rangers, Jimenez is 1-2 with a 4.37 ERA in four starts, but at Rangers Ballpark he is 0-1 with a 6.30 ERA in two starts. ... Opposing batters who hit Jimenez's first pitch are batting .409. The average jumps to .571 for those hitting his 1-0 offering.
Hitters: No Indians have faced Tepesch. Adrian Beltre is hitting .417 with a home run and four RBIs off Jimenez. David Murphy (.375) and Lance Berkman (.313) have also had success off the scheduled Cleveland starter.
Up next: The Rangers continue their 11-game homestand by hosting Toronto for the first in a four-game series, with right-hander Yu Darvish (7-2, 2.75) opposing Blue Jays lefty Mark Buehrle (2-4, 5.06) at 7:05 p.m. Thursday night on Fox Sports Southwest, ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and ESPN Deportes Dallas 1540 AM.
Unbeaten for 45 days with an ERA trending downward to 2.70 and against a Cleveland Indians team that had never beaten him, Holland was knocked around for nine hits and sent to an early shower in his shortest outing of the season, 4 1/3 innings of a 5-2 Texas Rangers loss Tuesday night before 45,200 at Rangers Ballpark.
“I’m very disappointed in the way I performed,” Holland said. “I didn’t do my job.”
He was charged with four runs, all earned, and needed 85 pitches to get 13 outs. The lefty's ERA is now 3.11.
“I don’t feel like I had my best fastball and you have to give them credit, they were finding holes,” Holland said.
Trailing 1-0 going into the fifth, Holland (5-3) faced five Indians before getting an out. Leadoff hits by the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters in Terry Francona’s lineup, Yan Gomes and Mike Aviles, foreshadowed the trouble that was to come. An errant Holland pickoff throw to second base set up a two-run single by Drew Stubbs to make it 3-0. Stubbs later scored the fourth run on a base hit by Nick Swisher.
“I give the Indians credit,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “They made Derek work and they got the hits that mattered.”
In his youthful past, Holland has been troubled by the “snowball” innings, but he said the fifth didn't really qualify in that category. All but one of the hits he allowed were singles.
“I was still making some pitches,” he said. “You've just got to tip your hat to their hitters. It was just one of those starts that didn't go my way. I'll go home and it will stick with me for awhile, but I'm not going to let one game get me down. There are a lot of games left.”
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers gave a big Ballpark crowd of 45,200 on Yu Darvish bobblehead night very little to get excited about in the first seven innings of a 5-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians.
Cleveland right-hander Corey Kluber, a product of Coppell, was superb in his homecoming start, limiting the Rangers to six hits and one run in eight innings.
David Murphy's RBI double in the eighth and A.J. Pierzynski's solo homer off Joe Smith in the ninth -- his fifth -- were minor rewards for those who stuck around.
Grounded offense: Kluber had the Rangers banging the ball into the dirt. Texas hit into 13 ground balls, one turning into a double play. Murphy’s shoe-top liner to third baseman Mark Reynolds was the only out speared in the air in the first four innings and that, too, turned into a double play. Elvis Andrus was running on the play.
The Rangers trailed by five runs by the time they finally nicked Kluber for a run in the eighth inning.
|Neal Cotts joins Galloway & Company to discuss pitching for the Rangers.
For Holland, the 4.1-inning outing was his shortest of the season. And it turned into his first loss to the Indians in four career decisions.
Streaking Elvis: With a first-inning single, Andrus extended his hitting streak against Cleveland to 34 straight games, tying for the fourth-longest in the majors against one team since 1945. Vladimir Guerrero owns the longest streak, 44 games against the Rangers. Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury hit in 38 in a row against Baltimore for the No. 2 spot.
Andrus on Tuesday matched the streak of Toronto’s George Bell, who also picked on Cleveland, as did the No. 3 man on the list, Ken Griffey Jr., who hit in 35 straight while a Mariner. Elvis has a chance to match Griffey’s total in Wednesday’s series finale against the Indians.
Costly gamble: Trailing by four runs in the back half of a game, giving up an out on the basepaths is a big no-no. It happened to the Rangers in the sixth. A pair of walks gave the Rangers their first runner in scoring position. But not for long. Leury Garcia tried to tag and advanced to third on a fly ball to left. Garcia was shot down on a strong throw by Michael Brantley and a clever catch-and-tag by Reynolds.
Fear the beard: Reliever Kyle McClellan saved Holland further ERA damage by throwing an inning-ending double-play ball with the bases loaded in the fifth after Cleveland had already scored three runs. It was McClellan's second appearance since promotion from Round Rock on Sunday. McClellan didn't allow a hit in 2.2 innings, the only blemish on his impressive outing a wild pitch that scored the Indians' fifth run in the seventh inning.
Don’t mess with Murph: Carlos Santana unwisely tried to take an extra base on Murphy in the second inning. Chalk up the third outfield assist of the season for the Rangers left fielder. Murphy went into the left-center alley to glove Santana’s hit and made an accurate throw to second baseman Garcia in plenty of time to apply a tag.
The outfield assist was the 36th for Murphy since becoming a Ranger in 2007.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.