Texas Rangers: Luis Valbuena
The Texas Rangers' 6-2 win over the Indians in Cleveland on Wednesday was a thing of beauty if you like watching hitters walking back to the dugout with their bats in their hands.
Of the 54 outs in the game, 25 were the result of strikeouts. The starting pitchers, Texas' Colby Lewis and Cleveland's Justin Masterson, combined to fan 19 batters. Lewis' 10 were the most in his major league career.
Lewis' pitch count wasn't great, 117 in 5 1/3 innings, and he walked four, but there's little else to criticize about his second start that leaves him with a 2-0 record and a 2.19 ERA. That ERA is only good enough, however, for third among the Rangers' starters. The highest ERA in the rotation belongs to Rich Harden at 2.79. The entire staff's ERA is a stingy 2.95. If that continues, and the bats keep producing ... well, let's not get carried away after eight games.
Some other tidbits from Wednesday:
*Nelson Cruz showed signs of being human, striking out three times. But he also showed signs of being machine with his sixth home run in eight games and a stellar defensive play. He made a leaping grab at the top of the right-field wall to rob Luis Valbuena in the eighth inning.
*Julio Borbon had his best offensive performance of the year. He led off the game by beating out an infield chopper and swiping second for his first stolen base of the year. He then scored the game's first run on Josh Hamilton's double. In the eighth inning, Borbon provided two insurance runs with a bases-loaded single. He entered the game just 1-for-25 on the season but boosted his average within 97 points of the Mendoza line by going 2-for-4.
*The Rangers rapped out 15 hits, three by Hamilton, whose average is up to .308. That gives Texas 39 hits in the last three games, all victories.
*Neftali Feliz needed only 18 pitches (11 strikes) to record four outs for the save, his second in two tries since being named the closer.
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.