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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Pwning...: Angels 5, Rangers 2

Vicente Padilla got off to a dreadful start this year; after his second start he had an ERA of 10.00 He rebounded some, but following a disastrous seven-run June 3 outing in the Bronx, Texas requested outright release waivers on him.

That wasn't the only thing that went wrong for the Rangers. Their usually craptastic pitching, which had looked so good earlier, has returned to earth with a 4.61 ERA, second-worst in the league. Have my fears of a DER-led Rangers pitching revival been misplaced? Given the depths the Rangers' pitching has fallen since I wrote that back in mid-May, it seems like it. The usual story, it appears, is playing out, despite the fact that Texas continues to have the second-best DER in the league. Since May 17, the Rangers are 17-21, with appreciably more runs allowed than scored; their offense, as the Rev noted prior to the series, is uncharacteristically quiet, a fact not helped by Josh Hamilton's appearance on the DL. If ever there were a time to catch this team, it's right now.

Last night's game was largely a snorer through the first five, with newbie Sean O'Sullivan giving up a couple runs in the third on back-to-back solo shots to David Murphy and Marlon Byrd. The Angels got one back in the fourth on a two-out rally that culminated with a Kendry Morales double, scoring Vlad Guerrero from second. The Angels blew a chance for a two-out rally in the next frame when Torii Hunter struck out swinging with Chone Figgins at second and Bobby Abreu at first. But the Angels crushed Padilla in the sixth, with Rivera and Morales going yard, and after Jason Jennings replaced the Rangers' starter, Maicer Izturis scored on Figgins' sac fly, further injuring Padilla's ERA (it now stands at 4.75).

The Angels' bullpen managed to survive without further damage, though Justin Speier had to work around Erick Aybar's error on a routine grounder by Nelson Cruz. Brian Fuentes set down the 7-8-9 batters in order to end things, and boy, this year it feels especially good to get a win in Texas.

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