The Texas Rangers, fresh off a road trip that saw them lose six of nine games, came back to their home ballpark in Arlington, Texas, looking to get back on track.
Another guy who was looking for a rebound was Monday night’s starter, Derek Holland.
After giving up six runs through just five innings in New York against the Yankees, he took to the mound against the Astros and had one of his best performances of the season. He gave up three runs on six hits through seven and one-third innings and struck out four. Not a bad line for the young left-hander.
It was a night Holland needed to have to give his confidence a little bit of a boost, especially since there had been talk recently that the Rangers were thinking of moving him back to the bullpen.
But it wasn’t just Holland who had a good night. The Rangers offense exploded for seven runs, chasing Astros starter J.A. Happ before he was able to get out of the third inning.
Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre combined for five hits in nine at-bats and drove in four of the Rangers eight runs on the night. They weren’t the only ones turning in big performances. Craig Gentry, the speedy outfielder, had a career high three hits and Mitch Moreland added a solo blast in the home half of the eighth inning to put the game on ice.
While most will talk about the Rangers beating up on a bad team you can call it what you want. A win is a win and, right now, the Rangers will take any wins they can get to stay in front in the American League’s Western Division.
But, as one person said inside the press box at Rangers’ Ballpark, “the season doesn’t begin for this team until after the All-Star break.”
That might be true, but the All-Star break isn’t here yet, and this team needs to tread water for a little bit longer. Make no mistake about it, the Mariners, Angels and A’s know exactly where Texas is and each team is only one or two moves away from leaving the Rangers in the dust.
It’s time to protect until general manager Jon Daniels and CEO Nolan Ryan can put together some moves of their own. Monday night was a good first step, but this season is a long ways from over.