Cole Hamels returned to form last night in Oakland, recording 11 strikeouts in 5 innings of work, a franchise record in a start of 5 innings or fewer. Hamels did have some minor control issues, throwing 42 balls out of 94 pitches. He has introduced a slider into his repertoire this season and is still learning to trust it.
“It’s finally turning into something” he said “I just have to trust it and I just have to throw it.” A quote like that makes an average joe like myself feel capable of pitching in the bigs.
No Texas starter has seen the seventh inning in this young season, and only two (Hamels, Colon) have continued into the sixth.
“When you go full count on everybody, it’s not a good thing,” Hamels added ” It [11 strikeouts] looks good, but ultimately I have to get to that 100-pitch mark and I have to go deeper into the ballgame.”
With 7 K’s in his first outing, Cole Hamels looks like he might be a more dominant strikeout pitcher once again, although it’s way too early to tell.
Let’s talk hitting.
The Rangers have been struggling early to get much production in the box. Chirinos has only two hits this season, both of which came last night. Odor added two RBI singles last night, snapping an 0-15 run since his first AB on opening day when he singled. They tallied 10 base hits last night, and one was from Adrian Beltre. Belts is now at 3,053 which ties him for 25th all time with HOFer Rod Carew, who also wore No.29.
With our everyday lead off hitter Delino DeShields out 4-6 weeks with a broken hand, there will have to be a “next man up” approach at the leadoff spot to get the Rangers going early in ballgames.
Lack of bullpen depth seems to haunt the Rangers year after year, but if we can’t step up to the plate (pun intended) on the offensive side of the game, I’d be torn between worrying more about our hitting vs. our pitching.
It’s early, but I have a feeling watching this ball club will be as entertaining as watching the outfield grass grow.
Question of the day :
Where will Texas finish in the AL West division?