Live look-in at the Astros:
- Cole Hamels started today, and he was very good, earning himself a game score of 75. Truth be told, that score could have been higher. He was charged an unearned run in the bottom of the 3rd inning -- thanks to Hanser Alberto booting a routine grounder at second base -- that subtracted two points from his score, and later was charged with a walk instead of a strikeout on a clear swing that netted a two-point swing. All told, his game score could have been 79, but it doesn't take away from how good he was today. 8 innings on 5 hits and a 11 -- yes 11 -- strikeouts. And Yu Darvish comes back next week. It's time to start getting excited about these Rangers.
- I don't know what sort of sorcery the Rangers have going with their catchers right now, but I'm certainly not complaining. The combination of Robinson Chirinos, Bobby Wilson, Bryan Holaday, and Brett Nicholas has thus far on the season put up a wOBA of .353. That falls between the categories of "above average" and "great". And these are catchers we're talking about. The starter, Robinson Chirinos? Grand total of 16 plate appearances. It's phenomenal, really.
- Ian Desmond, Adrian Beltre, and Nomar Mazara also got in on the action today. Of the regulars in the Texas lineup, Nomar Mazara -- who just turned 21 mere weeks ago -- leads the team with a wOBA of .353. He had a 2-run blast in the top of the 7th inning that got the Rangers to 9 runs.
- Drew Stubbs, who got the start today in right field and was the lead-off man, had a rough day. He was 1-for-5. He singled in the top of the 9th inning, but ended up slipping while rounding second base on an Ian Desmond single, and apparently hurt something. He pulled up grimacing, and was tagged out by Carlos Correa before making it back to the bag.
- Prince Fielder had a hit today as well, a towering opposite-field double. It seems like each time Prince does this, it's natural to think, "OK, this is where he gets it going." I don't know if this is the one, but it was nice to see, and I'd like to see more of it.
- Tony Barnette worked the 9th inning issuing a walk to go along with 2 strikeouts. It seems that that might have been a chance to get Shawn Tolleson back into game action, but Barnette hadn't pitched since May 14. It was time to get him into a game, especially since he figures to have an increased role moving forward.
- The Rangers and Astros have played two series, and Texas has won every game. The Astros are now 17-28 and 10 games back in the AL West. There's still a ton of season left, but it feels like these two series might be where we can look back and say, "This is where the Astros lost control of their season." I've seen articles in recent days suggesting that Houston -- thought to be American League favorites by many before the season -- could actually end up being sellers at the trade deadline. I'm not sure how much I agree with that, but it just goes to show that you can't predict baseball, even when you think you have the most reliable information available to you.
- Next up, the Rangers welcome the Angels to Arlington for a three-game set.