Texas Rangers: Robbie Grossman

Extra Bases: Washington explains ending

August, 9, 2014
Aug 9
HOUSTON -- Alex Rios is sitting out a few days because of a sprained right ankle.

Friday night, he walked slowly into the trainer's room with his ankle and right hand wrapped.

Rios, the Texas Rangers' starting right fielder, is nicked up and trying to get healthy not only for this team, but possibly for another if he gets traded.

Rios was available to pinch-hit against the Houston Astros on Friday night but didn't, particularly in a critical situation of the game.

In the ninth, trailing 4-3, the Rangers had the tying and go-ahead runners on base with one out. Washington elected to keep Daniel Robertson in the game to face Astros closer Chad Qualls.

Righty versus Righty.

Why not send Rios up, a better hitter?

"'Cause they had a lefty going on [in Tony Sipp in the bullpen] out there, and that guy is struggling," Washington said. "And I had [Rios] ready for [Jim] Adduci."

Sipp gave up a grand slam in Thursday's loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, and if he relieves Qualls, Rios enters the game.

Robertson bounced into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.

"Robbie had a tough at-bat," Washington said.

You can question the decision, but it made sense for all the right reasons because Washington wanted to get a strong right-handed hitter up against a lefty coming off a poor outing.

Choo's mistake: A fly ball hit by Robbie Grossman landed between right fielder Shin-Soo Choo and Rougned Odor in the sixth inning. While it didn't cause any damage, Washington wasn't pleased with the play.

Odor, the second baseman, came running to right field and at the last second stopped allowing the ball to fall helplessly to the ground for a hit.

"It's his ball all the way," Washington said of Choo, who was playing deep.

Cotts suffers the loss:Left-handed reliever Neal Cotts (2-6) took the loss on Friday night and was credited with his sixth blown save of the season. Cotts is a dependable relief pitcher for the Rangers, but he gave up a two-run, go-ahead homer to Grossman in the eighth inning.

"Grossman, I tried to throw a fastball away and it came back over the middle," Cotts said.

He pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings, spanning three games before Grossman's homer. In his past 14 games, heading into Friday night, Cotts allowed just three earned runs over 14 innings.

His good stretch ended Friday night.

"I made some mistakes," he said. "Just didn't put them away."
HOUSTON -- Texas Rangers right-hander Miles Mikolas got a visit in the second inning from his manager, Ron Washington.

It was just Washington and Mikolas on the mound alone.

No catcher.

No infielders.

[+] EnlargeRon Washington, Miles Mikolas
Troy Taormina/USA TODAY SportsRon Washington spent some time with young pitcher Miles Mikolas during Friday's loss to the Astros.
Nobody but the two of them. It was as if they were on an island in the middle of downtown instead of the middle of Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros.

Mikolas had walked Robbie Grossman and now he was down 2-0 to Jake Marisnick.

"Just making him understand he's got good stuff," Washington said of the conversation. "This is the way you hurt yourself, by putting people on the bag without them swinging the bat. If those guys swing the bat and get on base, you live with that. But you don't be giving up free passes when you have a 2-0 lead."

The Rangers lost that 2-0 lead and the game 4-3 to the Astros on Friday night.

So the education continues for another young pitcher, and on this night it was Mikolas, who didn't get the loss but couldn't get to a quality start because he threw 105 pitches in five innings.

At one point, Mikolas threw 61 pitches in Innings 2, 3 and 4.

"It could have been tougher, but he was able to make pitches when he had to," Washington said. "He just didn't have his command as well has he had in the past. Got into a lot of deep counts, on a lot of hitters, and he was in a lot of 0-2 counts and next thing you know, it's 3-2. He just didn't have the pitch to put him away and it cost him. He could have gone into the sixth or seventh inning, but he was gone in the fifth."

Houston's Chris Carter homered off Mikolas, cutting a 2-0 deficit to one in the fifth inning. Mikolas' 3-2 pitch was sent deep into left field over the bleachers that sit atop of the out-of-town scoreboard.

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W2W4: Texas Rangers vs. Houston Astros

August, 19, 2013
Rangers (71-53, 1st place AL West) vs. Houston Astros (41-82, 5th place AL West)

Monday: RHP Matt Garza (8-2, 3.40 ERA) vs. RHP Lucas Harrell (6-13, 5.16), 7:05 p.m.

Tuesday: TBA vs. RHP Jarred Cosart (1-0, 1.15), 7:05 p.m.

Wednesday: LHP Derek Holland (9-6, 2.95) vs. LHP Erik Bedard (3-9, 4.49), 7:05 p.m.

What to Watch For:

Road trip roll: The Rangers are 11-2 against the Astros this season, but don't start thinking Houston is easy prey. The Astros have won both of their series on their current nine-game road trip, taking two out of three from each the Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Angels. Houston third baseman Matt Dominguez provided the big blow Sunday afternoon against the Angels, snapping a 3-3 tie with a three-run home run in the seventh inning that spurred the Astros to a 7-5 victory. The Astros hadn't won a series in two months before this week.

On the run: Just like the Rangers, the Astros have been on the run since the All-Star break. Houston has 35 stolen bases since the break, second to Kansas City's 36 steals, which lead the American League. The Rangers are third since the break with 34 stolen bases. Shortstop Elvis Andrus is second in the major leagues with 12 stolen bases since the break, while Astros rookie Jonathan Villar is third with 11.

Cosart for first time: The Rangers swept a four-game series in Houston last Friday-Monday, but they had the good fortune of avoiding Astros rookie starter Cosart. The 23-year-old right-hander has four quality starts to begin his major league career. Cosart is one of only two pitchers this season to begin their careers with four quality starts, joining teammate Brett Oberholtzer. Cosart has allowed five earned runs in 39 innings. He has 18 strikeouts and 18 walks.

Beware of Grossman: Astros left fielder Robbie Grossman has been swinging the bat well and playing great defense since being called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City on July 27. Grossman is batting .350 with three home runs, 11 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .402. Grossman also robbed Oakland's Chris Young of a home run in the 10th inning on Wednesday night, a game the Astros eventually won 2-1 in 11 innings.

Young guns: The Astros have the youngest roster in the majors with an average payroll of 25.6 years old. Houston is carrying 13 rookies on its roster, including five relievers. The Astros have had 12 players make their major league debut this season. Houston has a current payroll of $13.5 million. Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre is making $16 million this season.



Colby Lewis
10 5.18 133 170
BAA. Beltre .324
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182