For reasons beyond this author's grasp, the Texas Rangers almost never lose when I'm in attendance to see them. Sunday was one of those days, and the Rangers came through with their heftiest run scoring output of the year, en route to a 14-3 win over the Angels.
I feel sort of dumb having to say it again, but Yu Darvish wasn't his sharpest... even though he managed to get through 6.1 innings on 3 runs, walking one with 9 punch outs. After being staked to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first, Darvish surrendered two solo shots from Erick Aybar and Albert Pujols, and a well-struck ball off the bat of Mike Trout. He also ran into some trouble in the second, but a fielder's choice that got overturned in the Rangers' favor led to 1st and 2nd with two outs, rather than the bases being loaded with only one out. Since Mike Trout was the next hitter, at the time it was a critical juncture in the game. (Trout ended the inning with a strikeout.)
After the 2nd, Yu settled in considerably. Over his final 4.1 IP, he gave up 4 hits and struck out 6 Halos, and the only run credited against him scored after Nick Martinez was brought in. So, overall, not Yu Darvish's best performance, but it's definitely an outing you would take every time out against an offense as dangerous as the LAA's.
Prince Fielder went 3-4 with two run-scoring doubles (both hammered down the first base line) and two walks. After Saturday's game, Prince was hitting .209/.326/.309; as it stands tonight, he's at .228/.348/.342 (76 wRC+). Baby steps. And yes, we're still early enough in the season where in one day a guy can add 20 points to his OBP and 30 points to his slugging percentage. Stats!
Elvis Andrus batted 9th a day after I said he's still the #2 hitter, for now, and went 1-3 with a single, a walk and a run scored.
J.P. Arencibia went 2-4 with his first home run of the season, a walk (!) and two runs scored. He's still not very good, but that was nice of J.P. to have himself a day while I was at the park to enjoy it.
Michael Choice absolutely destroyed a pitch over the wall in center to make the score 9-2, inevitably putting the game out of reach.
In three games this weekend in Anaheim, Shin-Soo Choo went 7-10 with a HR, 4 BBs, 3 runs batted in, and was hit by a pitch. In 15 plate appearances, he reached base 12 times, and is currently sporting a scary-good .349/.482/.535 (178 wRC+) clip.
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The Rangers now enter into a bit of an awkward week. On Monday and Tuesday they will be in Colorado to face the Rockies, and the two teams will complete the home-and-home series in Arlington on Wednesday and Thursday. So, as it were, the Rangers will end their road trip at either 2-3, 3-2, or 4-1 against the Angels and Rockies.
Here are the probables for this week's games:
Monday -- Martin Perez (4-1, 2.95 ERA, 3.65 xFIP) vs. Jordan Lyles (3-0, 2.70 ERA, 3.82 xFIP)
Tuesday -- Robbie Ross (1-2, 3.86 ERA, 3.75 xFIP) vs. Juan Nicasio (3-1, 4.19 ERA, 3.74 xFIP)
Wednesday -- Jorge De La Rosa (3-3, 5.11 ERA, 4.00 xFIP) vs. Colby Lewis (2-1, 4.22 ERA, 4.03 xFIP)
Thursday -- Franklin Morales (3-1, 5.05 ERA, 4.07 xFIP) vs. Matt Harrison (0-0, 4.35 ERA, 4.66 xFIP)
Colorado, particularly the offense, has been really good so far this season. They are 19-14, and they lead MLB in runs scored, by a ton. At 185, the 26-run difference between themselves and the next-best offense in the majors -- the Angels, at 159 runs -- is as large as the gap between Anaheim and the Rays, Nationals and Dodgers who are tied for 8th with 133 runs. This is a really, really good hitting team the Rangers are facing this week.
In particular, it's been two primary players: Super-star Troy Tulowitzki (.400/.500/.730, 220 wRC+) and relative unknown Charlie Blackman (.372/.411/.611, 168 wRC+). If the Rangers can somehow navigate through the uncanny early season hero-ball those two guys are playing, this is a Rockies' pitching staff the Rangers can take advantage of.