As ugly a win as Monday night’s extra inning affair with Detroit was, Tuesday’s win over the Tigers can only be described as a masterpiece.
As pitiful as the Rangers defense was Monday, they perhaps played their best game of the season on Tuesday. Elvis Andrus was superb at short, making great play after great play. Especially sparkling was the Rangers 6-4-3 double play in the first, when Andrus flipped the ball to Ian Kinsler, who barehanded the catch and, in one continuous motion, completed the twin killing with his throw to first.
As woeful as Scott Feldman was on Monday, Tommy Hunter more than made up for it on Tuesday. Seven innings of 3-hit shutout baseball on a mere 92 pitches. Hunter was in a zone last night. Even when Miguel Cabrera hit a double off Hunter, he was pitching so well you felt like the run wasn’t going to score anyway.
Then the 9th inning- the one inning the Rangers haven’t done well in all season. Four big insurance runs scored to bust it wide open, causing even my casual fan spouse to remark, “Wow, they’re really something else this year!”
Out of 94 games played, I have watched or listened to probably 90 of them and I am very tempted to say this was easily the best game the Rangers have played all season long.
Here’s an amazing thing: I read the message board on one of the sites I link to here and the first comment on last night’s game (from a Ron Washington hater, it should be said) questioned why Washington had Julio Borbon lay down a sacrifice bunt in the 9th with nobody out and Chris Davis on 2nd. I say why not? Yeah, with a four run lead you didn’t have to, but it’s not like that’s such a horrible time to do it either. Secondly, and I mentioned it once before earlier this season, I just don’t understand how a real team fan can take a win like this and immediately find fault with it. If the Rangers end up winning it all (and I’m not ready to go there yet), I just get the feeling this guy won’t even enjoy it because he hates Washington so much. That’s really sad.
While he once again failed with runners in scoring position last night, it was good to see two hits, including a double, from Chris Davis. Not trying to justify my preference for Davis over Justin Smoak (well, OK, I really am), but from time to time I’ll try to throw a comparison out at you, since this is the first time we can compare apples to apples on a big league level.
Smoak vs. Davis since the Cliff Lee trade:
Smoak: 8-30, 1 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI 0 BB 14 K
Davis: 6-33, 1 2B, 1 RBI 3 BB 5 K
Smoak has been a little more productive, but I guarantee nobody would have said, even after just 9 games, that Smoak would have more strikeouts than Davis (by a wide margin) and Davis would have more walks than Smoak. Honestly, Davis has had some good at bats with bad luck since he’s been back. He’s had a few bad at bats, but no more than any other Ranger the past two weeks. Even Michael Young’s had a couple of bad looking K’s in that time.
By the way, Tommy Hunter became the first Rangers pitcher EVER to start a season 7-0. And he hasn’t looked bad in any of his starts either.
Getting back to the contrast between Monday and Tuesday night’s wins, here is your question for the day:
Which game says more about the 2010 Rangers: Winning ugly on Monday or winning pretty on Tuesday?
Here’s my answer: I actually think Monday’s win says more about the Rangers. To play as poorly as they did and still pull out the win shows how much this team fights and never gives up on a game. Tuesday’s win shows us just how talented this group of players is. Monday’s showed us how tough they are too.
I’m curious how you all see it. Send your comments my way. I always look forward to reading them (and I usually respond as well).
Going for the road sweep tonight with Colby Lewis on the mound. It would be great to go home to face the Angels with a 6-1 road trip under the belt!