Thursday, August 23, 2007

Texas (Baseball) Massacre

With apologies to any of you horror flick fans - and no, I am not one of them. Just what in the world tore through Baltimore yesterday??? No, it wasn't a tornado, it was just a baseball team tearing through Camden Yards. Perhaps the frustration of having to face the major league's two best strikeout pitchers over the course of three days (Johan Santana and Eric Bedard) and whiffing 28 times while scoring only twice caused them to have some pent up anger. Whatever it was, baseball has not seen anything like what happened yesterday in 110 years! The final score resembled something more like you'd expect out of an NFL game: Texas 30, Baltimore 3. Then again, the stingy Baltimore Ravens defense didn't allow more than 26 points in a single game last year, so I guess not even that one would make sense!!! This is the same Texas Rangers team who recently traded away their best slugger (Mark Teixeira) and their closer (Eric Gagne)... their RBI leader, Sammy Sosa, was also benched at the same time. With these moves, many (myself included) were calling the Rangers baseball's worst team.

So, just how did they do it? Well, the Rangers actualy spotted the Orioles a 3-0 lead as the O's scored a run in the first and two more in the third. The Rangers finally woke up in the fourth inning off of Oriole starter Daniel Cabrera. Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled in the Rangers first two runs, and Ramon Vazquez then hit a three-run homer to give the visitors a 5-3 lead. Cabrera would actually not give up any runs in the fifth inning. Brian Burres would relieve Cabrera in the sixth and he would get torched - in 2/3 of an inning, he gave up nine earned runs and nine hits! The "halftime" score looked like something you'd typically see on a Sunday morning in November: Texas 14, Baltimore 3.

Incredibly, the Rangers did all of their damage in just four innings. They failed to score in the 7th off of Rob Bell, but in the 8th the floodgates again opened as Bell would give up four hits and three walks before getting pulled for Paul Shuey. All seven of Bell's baserunners would score as Shuey pitched inneffectively as well in the frame, giving up three hits and three runs of his own. Interestingly, Shuey ended up striking out the side. Put up another 10-spot for the Texans (I mean Rangers)... it was now 24-3. Time for the 4th quarter to begin!!!

In that 4th quarter (or 9th inning), Shuey would get tagged for six more runs... Ramon Vazquez finished off the scoring with a three run homer to deep right field... Frank Catalanotto would walk, but the Rangers would fail to convert the "extra point" and would have to settle for just the "TD" as Ian Kinsler would fly out to deep center field.

Here are some interesting numbers from the game: The Rangers had a total of 37 baserunners (29 hits, 8 walks). The hit tally: 21 singles, two doubles and six home runs. The bottom two hitters in the order, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ramon Vazquez both homered twice and each drove in seven runs. David Murphy had five hits. Catalanotto and Kinsler each came to the plate EIGHT times! With the 29 hits in game one, the Rangers' team batting average went from .2551 to .2584. Yes, that's 3.3 points. Conversely, the Orioles' staff ERA went from 4.41 to 4.62 after that one game of carnage!!

Whether you are 10, 110 or any age in between, one thing is certain - nothing like this has ever happened during your lifetime before!!! And by the way, that was actually the first game of a double header!!! The nightcap was a "defensive struggle" as the Rangers made their three field goals stand up in a 9-7 victory.


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