After Hank Blalock finally succumbed to his ailments earlier in the week, Ramon Vasquez was called up on Friday and made the start at third base. Make no mistake that the shoes to fill in the absence of Blalock are some pretty big sized ones. But with a homerun in his first start for the Rangers on Friday, followed by a 5 RBI game on Sunday afternoon with some nice defensive plays thrown in, and Vasquez has been a pleasant replacement at third for the time being.
Another excellent pitching performance, another win for the resurgent Brandon McCarthy. Sunday in Houston, McCarthy went six strong innings allowing just one run on four hits. He never gave up more than one hit to an Astro batter in any of his frames of work. As is evident by his pitch count from that game (100 pitches in six innings of work) his command still fluctuates between outstanding and shaky. But overall he still continues to impress after a forgettable April.
Taking two of three from the Astros in this first leg of the Lone Star Series was a nice way to wrap up the week and head home, but it doesn't replace a painful midweek trip to sunny Orlando and a sweep at the hand of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. For a Rangers team faced increasing injury woes every day of their Florida trip, being on the short end of the stick like that in a minor league ballpark certainly couldn't have been the highlight of their week either. That three game manhandling of the Rangers included two of the walkoff variety, and is one I think we'd all like to forget.
Hank Blalock's rib couldn't have barked at him at a worse time. Against the Devil Rays this week, Blalock had a streak of homering in three consecutive ballgames. But at the same time his swing looked as though t was returning to form, we all became familiar with a little medical condition known as Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. As a result, it'll be at least five weeks before Blalock can even resume baseball activities and the club believes he'll be back to the big league club in August. However there was this interesting little tidbit about Assistant GM Thad Levine and pitcher Aaron Cook of the Rockies, who Levine knew when he was in Colorado. Cook suffered from the same ailment and needed to have a rib removed. He claims that the pitcher used to store the removed rib in his locker. Currently, there are no plans for Blalock to keep his rib in his possession after it's taken out of his body.
Nobody with the Rangers is ready to begin taking offers on the first baseman. But whatever his future may be, Teixeira wrapped up his past week of baseball by going 10 for 29 with 3 homers, and 8 RBI.
Sunday, May 20th: Rangers 14, Astros 1
The Rangers displayed a tremendous amount of patience at the plate in pounding out 18 hits against their I-45 neighbors. Two homeruns by Mark Teixeira, Victor Diaz, and solo shots by Ramon Vasquez, Gerald Laird, and Kenny Lofton ignited the fire and gave Brandon McCarthy plenty of ample breathing room to pick up the win and even his record to 4-4 on the year. It also reinstalled some belief that this team is capable of ore than just rolling over and playing dead for the remainder of the season.