Rookie Nick Martinez pitched five shutout innings Saturday night, as the Texas Rangers dropped their fourth game in a row despite his incredible outing. Martinez, who has been spotty at best over his nine starts with the team, delivered a great game—the Texas offense, on the other hand, was once again out of sorts.
Plagued by injuries from before the season even started, Texas has struggled mightily in the American League West, currently sitting at 35-39 and fourth place in the division. Rookie pitchers have been pulled from the bullpen and called up from the minor leagues—like Martinez—to fill the holes in the lineup. Martinez is rolling with a 4.22 earned run average over his 14 major league games, with 28 earned runs, nine home runs, and 25 walks. Martinez does have 28 strikeouts, averaging about two per game.
The right-hander threw 97 pitches Saturday night through seven-plus innings, allowing only two runs to score, and striking out three batters out of the 25 he faced. He pitched to two batters in the eighth and was pulled after giving up a home run to C. J. Cron to give the Angels the lead. Neal Cotts came into the game and held Los Angeles scoreless long enough for Texas to tie the game, but gave up a single to Josh Hamilton before being replaced by Jason Frasor. Howie Kendrick then hit a double to score Hamilton and end the game, and the Rangers dropped their fourth in a row on the road, despite a respectable showing from Martinez.
It was unfortunate that, once again, the offense could not get on board while the defense was having a solid game. Texas hit .147 for the night against Jered Weaver and the Angels’ relievers, who racked up 10 total strikeouts. Five different Rangers made it on base once; not a single Texas player had a second hit in the game. First baseman for the night Brad Synder struck out three times and grounded out once to join his five teammates who went hitless as well.
Texas has lost five of its last seven games, all to AL West rivals. Only three Rangers—Rougned Odor, Elvis Andrus, and Daniel Robertson—have hit above .250 in that span, including the 14-run, four-home-run blowout over Oakland last Monday. Even Yu Darvish has not been immune to the poor performance bug that seems to be flitting around the Rangers—he threw five innings on Tuesday in Oakland, allowing seven runs (four earned) and five walks, though he managed to strike out eight. Martinez is the best of the starters for this week, having allowed only four total runs in his two starts. His last start against Seattle was another case of out-of-sync play from the offensive players, who only put up a single run, while Robbie Ross, Jr., allowed three more runs in a 5-1 loss to the Mariners.
Despite their record, the Rangers are a decent team and have earned several impressive victories, especially considering their piecemeal lineup, but have now dropped a fourth game on the road to Los Angeles even with an outstanding showing from Nick Martinez. Texas will play one last game against the Angels on Sunday before returning home to face the Tigers and the Twins.
Commentary by Christina Jones
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer Covering the Texas Rangers
Follow Christina’s Coverage in the Rangers Roundup