Big Game.

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Tommy Hunter’s first
big league win came on his 23rd birthday, a 3-1 win in Rangers Ballpark
over Tampa Bay.


Tommy Hunter’s most
recent big league win came on his 24rd birthday, a 3-1 win in
Rangers Ballpark over Chicago.


There were lots of differences between the two wins.  Hunter lasted only 5.1 innings in last year’s
win, needing 90 pitches and throwing only 61 percent for strikes.  More than half of the Texas lineup – Marlon Byrd,
Andruw Jones, Hank Blalock, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Chris Davis – isn’t even
around any more. 


Tonight, Hunter gave the Rangers seven-plus, throwing 72
percent of his 94 pitches for strikes, a tremendously efficient effort that includes,
for example, an 0-4 night by Jones that, despite accounting for two of Hunter’s
three strikeouts, still faced only 11 Hunter pitches. 


Hunter faced 29 White Sox tonight.  He started off 25
with a first-pitch strike.


When I was on ESPN Radio yesterday, Ben Rogers asked me rank
the top four young Rangers starting pitchers in terms of untouchability at
trade time.  I said Martin Perez would be
the one I’d be least likely to part with, followed by Derek Holland, and then
Tanner Scheppers, and finally Hunter – who is now 5-0, 1.98 for the season and has
yet to allow more than two earned runs in any of his six starts.


But I finished the point by saying how much I love having
Hunter on this staff.


You look at the current Rangers starting five, the rotation
that’s leading one of baseball’s only three teams playing .600 baseball, and I
would wager that Hunter is the most likely to be a Texas Ranger three years
from now.


I’m still not sure why Joaquin Arias is still around but he
did drive in a run and score another, both with John Danks on the mound, giving
me an opportunity to shoehorn in the note that Arias and Danks were Stockton
teammates in 2004, Frisco teammates in 2005, and Oklahoma teammates in 2006.


I’m more interested in sharing with you that Arias and Ultimate
Journeyman Bruce Chen were Oklahoma teammates in 2007.  Chen was perfect into the seventh tonight in Anaheim,
earning the Royals’ second straight win over the Angels, a game that just ended
with Kansas City coming out on top, 4-2.


With the white-hot White Sox in Arlington, and the Angels
hosting the hapless Royals, after these last two nights Los Angeles has given
back the game it gained in the Rangers series. 
The division lead is back to 4.5 games. 


Six in the loss column.


My work now turns to a report I’ve been meaning to write for
about two weeks, one that I can’t put off any longer (especially since I’m
getting a dozen emails every day asking for it). 


Back with that report in the morning.  Or maybe Monday.





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(c) Jamey Newberg



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