The Texas Rangers were in need of a win and it really did not matter how it came. Yes, they had only lost one game, but before that they had dropped five of six and the stretch of subpar baseball goes back much further than that. They have actually been a .500 team for the past 38 games, which shows exactly how hot they were to start out the season. That was when everyone was wondering just how many games they were capable of winning. Unfortunately, those days are turning into a distant memory. Tuesday night was a night where it did not have to be an offensive explosion or a stellar pitching performance that shutdown the opposing team. It was simply about finishing the day in the win column.
Derek Holland seemed to back in form as he pitched four scoreless innings before beginning to struggle in the fifth and sixth inning. He ended up going 5 1/3 while allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks. It was not his best night, but was significantly better than his previous start when he gave up eight runs in the second inning. Holland was cruising along on Tuesday before seeing a significant drop in velocity in his last few innings of work. Come to find out after the game that he has been dealing with a stomach virus for the past few weeks and has lost a significant amount of weight that seems to be the culprit for his fatigue.
Holland probably did not work as deep into the game as Ron Washington would have liked after a night when his bullpen was worked heavily, but he still went deep enough that Washington was able to turn the ball over to Alexi Ogando. Washington held back Ogando, Mike Adams and Joe Nathan in the Game 1 loss on Monday night so that he had them available in a situation like Tuesday night. Ogando, Adams and Nathan all came on and did what they do best. They did not allow a run with Ogando working 1 2/3 of an inning and Adams and Nathan each working an inning.
This was one of those nights where the Rangers had enough pitching that they did not have to have a great deal of offensive fireworks. The bats were consistent and the runs came, but it was still not the slugfest that this team is capable of. They combined for 11 hits on the night with both Ian Kinsler and Adrian Beltre having multi-hit performances. It was a consistent performance all the way across. It was nothing flashy, but it was everything that it takes to win a ballgame. They had solid starting pitching, solid defense, timely hitting and a shutdown performance from the bullpen.
The Rangers were back in the win column and that was what was important about this one. The Angels picked up a victory over Seattle as well, so there was not any ground to be made up, but hopefully the Rangers are back on the right track. They will now have Colby Lewis on the mound to face Bartolo Colon in the third game of the four game set. Lewis has a 4-0 career record against the A's and this would be a wonderful time to keep that record perfect.
John Bowman is a lifelong baseball and Texas Rangers fan that loves to ponder the deeper aspects of the game. Some of his first baseball memories involve Arlington Stadium nachos, Charlie Hough's knuckleball, dirt on Pete Incaviglia's uniform and the voices of Mark Holtz and Eric Nadel as he fell asleep.
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- Alexi Ogando