CLEVELAND: Are the Rangers merely a bad matchup for the Indians, or is the Tribe just no match for Texas, which for the first time in decades has starting ptiching to go along with a dangeorus group of hitters.
On Wednesday, the Rangers completed a three-game (in 22 hours) sweep at Progressive Field by shutting out the Indians 10-0 to take the season series eight games to one.
As manager eric Wedge pointed out, this is not your uncle's Rangers.
‘‘Their pitching is the biggest difference,'' he said. ‘‘They've always hit. Yesterday (in a twi-night doubleheader), we gave ourselves a chance, when we came plowing back. Today we didn't.''
In Tuesday's twinbill, the Tribe continually fell behind and rallied only to fall short. On Wednesday, Texas took a 5-0 lead in the first inning, and thanks to Scott Feldman, there was no rallying on the part of the home forces.
Feldman pitched seven scoreless innings and lifted his record to 15-4 with a 3.46 earned-run average, good enough to be in contention for the American League Cy Young Award, a prize that many Rangers fans might never have heard of before.
On the other side of the ledger, Indians pitchers were horrid, particularly the starters. On Wednesday, Fausto Carmona gave up five runs and didn't survive the first inning. In Tuesday's games, Carlos Carrasco yielded five runs in five innings, and Aaron Laffey gave up seven runs (six earned) in 31/3 innings, his worst performance in at least a couple of months.
‘‘Our starting pitching in this series was not good,'' Wedge said. ‘‘Our bullpen, for the most part, used up a lot of the innings and put up most of the zeroes. You can see why starting pitching is so important. It sets the tone.''
And who were the Tribe's most proficient pitchers against Texas? Would you believe Toma Ohka (42/3 IP, 0R), Jensen Lewis (42/3 IP, 1 R) and Mike Gosling (4 IP, 0 R)?
The numbers for the three-game set show how thoroughly the Rangers dominated. They outscored the Indians 31-14, outhit them .384 to .261 and outslugged them 18 extra-base hits (7 HR) to 10 (3 HR).
On Wednesday, not only was Carmona ultra vulnerable, Rafael Perez gave up five runs in the ninth and retired only one batter. An error accounted for two unearned runs, but the error was committed by Perez.
‘‘It was ugly early and ugly late,'' lamented Wedge.
STRANGE LINEUP -- Niuman Romero got his first major-league start Wednesday, playing first base in place of Andy Marte.
Romero was called up from Columbus on Tuesday and struck out in a pinch-hitting role. He plays all the infield positions, but he played mostly shortstop in Triple-A and seldom played first.
The lineup shuffling included moving Luis Valbuena from second to short in place of Asdrubal Cabrera, who needed a break.
‘‘Asdrubal was a little banged up,'' manager Eric Wedge said. ‘‘I wanted to give him today and tomorrow (no scheduled game) off. He got spiked pretty good out there yesterday.''
ON THE MEND -- Grady Sizemore underwent successful arthroscopic surgery to clean out the inflammation in the lining of his left elbow Wednesday. Dr. Mark Schickendantz performed the procedure at the Cleveland Clinic.
Sizemore will travel to Philadelphia, where Dr. Bill Myers will perform another surgical procedure to repair an unstable abdominal wall on Wednesday. Sizemore is expected to be fully ready to engage in his off-season workout regimen by early November.
BELIEVE IT OR NOT -- Official attendance for Tuesday's twi-night doubleheader was only 12,976, but that included a walk up crowd of more than 1,000.
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