Texas Rangers

Rangers Reaction: Big Sexy not as sharp vs. Tigers, but still sharpest Rangers starter

Bartolo Colon needed 98 pitches to complete five innings, but he allowed only two earned runs and again gave the Rangers a chance to win.
Bartolo Colon needed 98 pitches to complete five innings, but he allowed only two earned runs and again gave the Rangers a chance to win. The Associated Press

The Wilsons were in charge of snacks Tuesday for the Mansfield Rangers' 5-under t-ball game, and the boy wanted to make an impression.

He chose Gatorade, Cheez-It originals and Skittles, so there's a good chance his teammates' parents weren't too thrilled with his tastes or his parents' support. Dad decided to spice up the bags with some baseball cards featuring Texas Rangers, and noticed something pretty entertaining.

The Rangers sure have cycled through some players the past five years.

Ross Detwiler, J.P. Arencibia, Jim Adduci were among the forgettable additions. Alex Rios, Joakim Soria and Jason Frasor were among the quality additions.

There was Colby Lewis, Michael Young and Matt Harrison, media favorites who are missed. There were also cards of Young as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers, and those just didn't feel right.

Also stumbled upon? Cards of Nomar Mazara and Isiah Kiner-Falefa from their youth. Like, their teens.

Good stuff.

Speaking of good stuff, here's some Rangers Reaction from a 5-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers.

1.Bartolo Colon had to work a little harder than normal for the first time this season, and it took the lowly Tigers to do it.

The right-hander managed only five innings as his pitch count soared early. The Tigers made him use 65 pitches the first three innings before he closed the final two innings in a more efficient 33 pitches.

His best pitch was his last, as he got John Hicks to bounce into a 5-4-3 double play after the Tigers scored the tying run and had a runner at third with one out. Inning over. Big Sexy done.

His line: Five innings, six hits, three runs (two earned), one walk, four strikeouts.

"When you're falling behind the hitters, it's tough," Colon said.

Colon confirmed manager Jeff Banister's observations, that his pitches were elevated more than usual but that he managed to keep the Rangers in the game.

"It was a veteran, professional start, in my opinion," Banister said.

The Rangers are 3-3 when Colon starts, and he has a team-high three of their 11 quality starts. He has also pitched into the seventh inning a rotation-best three times.

He has been the Rangers' best starter.

2. With an off day Thursday, it wasn't the worst thing ever that the bullpen had to work four innings, at least from the standpoint that they will get a day to rest before the next game.

Of course, it's been proven time and again this season that the bullpen has trouble covering two scoreless innings let alone the five that would be required of them.

They didn't do too badly. In fact, they recovered nicely after the Tigers scored a run in only their first two batters in the sixth inning against Jesse Chavez. But Jose Leclerc picked him up, Jake Diekman picked up Kevin Jepsen in the eighth, and Keone Kela was darn near dominant in the ninth and 10th.

Leclerc put out the fire created against Chavez, and Diekman got Jepsen out of a heap of trouble by striking out pinch-hitter Victor Martinez and JaCoby Jones in the eighth with the go-ahead run at third.

"Diekman — none bigger," Banister said.

The mantra the Rangers adapted in spring training is, "It's only going to take everybody," or a variation thereof. In addition to the heroics of Mazara, the Rangers needed what amounted to relief heroics from Leclerc, Diekman and Kela.

Diekman might also want to ask the official scorer for assists on Mazara's game-tying homer in the seventh and the winner in the 10th.

"I called both of Mazara's home run, so ... ," Diekman said.

3. Since the TV broadcast isn't piped into the print press box, the scribes often don't hear what Dave Raymond and Tom Grieve are saying during the course of game. So if they fawned over Adrian Beltre again Wednesday, please excuse the following fawning:

The guy is pretty good. He hadn't see a live pitch in nearly two weeks before being activated Tuesday, and all he did the past two games was go 4 for 6 with four RBIs.

(We interrupt this Beltre fawning for some Delino DeShields fawning. He walked in his first four plate attempts Wednesday, scored twice and stole a base. He's carrying a .381 on-base percentage).

Beltre served as the designated hitter Wednesday, and his glove was sorely missed. Not so much his glove as his throwing arm, as Renato Nunez made two throwing errors

Of course, Beltre has been hitting big-league pitching so long that he probably sees pitches when he sleeps. He only needs one good hamstring to swing a bat, and, as he has proven over the years, only 1 1/2 hamstrings to make it to first base.

His first of two RBIs on Wednesday gave him 1,653 for his career. That's good for 27th all time.

Beltre is going to pass Cap Anson at No. 22 on the career hits list (3,081) this weekend and could get past Ichiro Suzuki (3,089) over the final six games of the road trip next week.

Beltre is 62 hits from 18th place (3,141) held by Tony Gwynn, who would have turned 58 on Wednesday. Beltre should catch Gwynn by the All-Star break, and after his career will join him in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

More fawning to follow in later editions of Rangers Reaction.