A few fun and/or interesting numbers from the Rangers’ 6-3 victory Thursday night over the Baltimore Orioles:
▪ Cole Hamels worked 5 1/3 innings in his third start of the season, and that rates as his shortest outing since being acquired by the Rangers on July 31. The Rangers have won his past 13 starts, the second-longest streak in club history (Bobby Witt, 14, 1990).
▪ Nomar Mazara has reached base in each of the first six games of his career, and he extended that streak Thursday with an RBI single in the third. That hit ended an 0-for-8 skid.
▪ Rougned Odor had two doubles. Four of his past five hits and five of his past seven have gone for extra bases. They’ve been productive, too. He has eight RBIs in his past seven games.
Here is some Rangers Reaction from the Rangers’ fifth win in their past seven games.
1. Hamels gave the Rangers a chance to win again, albeit without his best stuff and with the Rangers’ defense playing well behind him. But he sold himself short for what he did in the fifth inning.
The Orioles opened single, double to put runners at second and third with no outs and the top of their lineup coming. But they didn’t score, as Hamels got a generous third strike on Joey Rickard, got Manny Machado to bounce to third, and got Adam Jones swinging.
Manager Jeff Banister said that sequence is what an ace does, and the numbers show that Hamels is exceptional when things get tough. Opponents have a .170 average in his career with a runner at third and no outs, a .160 mark with a runner at third and two outs.
Second and third and no outs? Well, opponents were hitting .400. That stat, though, looks liked an anomaly.
9 Consecutive decisions won by Cole Hamels, dating to Aug. 23
Baltimore didn’t score there and got only one in the sixth after Tom Wilhelmsen got an inning-ending double play with runners at the corners, and Banister said that kind of pitching might have sparked the offense.
The Rangers scored five times in their half of the sixth, and Banister and a few players said there was some serious energy in that dugout against a pitcher, Chris Tillman, whose pitch count was climbing.
2. Nomar Mazara, Adrian Beltre, Rougned Odor and Elvis Andrus all had hits in the Rangers’ big sixth-inning rally. At some point so far this season, or many points this season, those batters have been productive.
Mitch Moreland and Ian Desmond had hits, too, albeit them a blooper to left and an infield single. But the hits brought in runs and kept the winning rally alive, and neither player is going to lodge a complaint.
“I’m taking them how I can get them,” Desmond said.
More than the hit, which snapped an 0-for-16 skid, Desmond liked that he took some good pitches and squared up some balls foul. As he continues the search for his best swing, those are things that he can carry into the next game.
.116 Ian Desmond’s batting average through 11 games after going 1 for 4 on Thursday
This guy is sharp (and did anyone see him get around the bases on Odor’s two-run double?). He’s going to figure something out. Will he be able to match his best seasons with Washington? Maybe, but maybe not. The stronger likelihood is that he does better than he last season, when he batted .233.
Desmond is also conscientious. He is trying to fit in on a new team, which does things differently day to day than the Nationals did. He wants to make a favorable impression to his new team and new fans. He’s learning an entirely new position.
He says that he’s not pressing, though Banister suggested he might be. Whatever. He’s going to find a comfort level and find a swing that will make him a productive hitter.
3. Don’t look now, but the bullpen, the one that gave away the second and third games of the season in full meltdown fashion, is pitching awfully well since then.
In the past eight games, beginning with the first game at Anaheim in which the bullpen was tagged with its third straight loss, the relievers have posted a 1.08 ERA. That’s three runs in their past 25 innings.
Four relievers, beginning with Wilhelmsen’s two-pitch appearance, recorded 3 2/3 scoreless innings. Shaky only a week ago, Shawn Tolleson has been solid his past two outings.
The preseason formula has started to percolate, with the rotation pitching well for five to seven innings and the bullpen finishing things off. It’s hasn’t just been the usual suspects from last season, either.
Tony Barnette has been solid, with his best work covering 2 1/3 scoreless innings Wednesday. Even Phil Klein had the appearance of a reliever who could be relied upon to get outs.
Eight games make for a small sample size. But it’s bigger than the first three games.