Rangers' staff on pace to shatter 'K' record
Pitch-to-contact philosophy paying off for young rotation
TORONTO -- Sometimes in sport, a team can accomplish a feat without intending to do so. In regards to the Rangers' pitching staff racking up strikeouts, this has undoubtedly been the case.
The Rangers have recorded 1,020 strikeouts following Thursday's 4-2 win over the Blue Jays. With 34 games of 10 or more strikeouts this season -- second only to Boston in the American League -- and a strikeout rate of well over seven per game, the Rangers appear to be on the fast track to shattering their previous club record of 1,112.
Pitching coach Mike Maddux said the majority of these punchouts are not by design, but are more so a byproduct of the pitch-to-contact philosophy.
"I preach early outs," Maddux said. "Everybody pitches to contact.
"We have some guys that have swing-and-a-miss stuff, where they swing and miss a pitch, per say. But nobody goes out there trying to strike everybody out. A perfect inning is three pitches, three outs."
Twenty-three-year old Derek Holland, who recorded eight strikeouts against the Jays on Wednesday, was in complete agreement.
"We have those talents," Holland said. "We don't try and think about that. We try to do what we can to get out of the inning and get the outs. Doesn't always have to be a strikeout."
Wilson: Rough outing vs. Twins an anomaly
TORONTO -- Manager Ron Washington and starting pitcher C.J. Wilson disagree in the cause, but agree with the result -- the left-hander's previous outing was not his best.
Wilson surrendered a season-high six runs over 5 1/3 frames Sunday against the Twins. He was tagged for an uncharacteristic seven hits and dished out four free passes.
Wilson, who is scheduled to start Friday's highly-anticipated series opener vs. the Yankees, said the outing was simply an anomaly -- a product of bad luck and nothing more.
"A couple bad bounces," Wilson said. "[The Twins] hit a double chopper over the third baseman's head that was like a turf base hit, basically. A couple broken bats that blooped in. No balls really driven well. It's not like I gave up any home runs.
"Just over the course of the season, you're going to have some starts where you deal with a little bit of the twilight-zone effect. A double-play ball turns into a hit, a strikeout turns into ball four, and some stuff like that. That was pretty much it."
Washington concurred with his starter's assessment, that even the best pitchers will run into a bad outing. On the other hand, he thought Wilson did not necessarily suffer from bad fortune, but rather poor control.
"He didn't have any command," Washington said. "He couldn't control his cutter. Couldn't throw his breaking ball where he wanted to. His changeup, he couldn't keep in the zone. He just didn't have any command."
Converted from a reliever to a starter this season, Wilson has posted an impressive 14-6 record with a 3.10 ERA. His prior loss dated back to July 11 against Baltimore.
Andrus expected to start Friday vs. Yankees
TORONTO -- Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus, sidelined since Saturday with a strained right hamstring, is expected be in Friday's starting lineup when the Yankees travel to Arlington.
Andrus took part in a regular full-range practice with the club prior to Thursday's win over the Blue Jays, citing no problems with the nagging hamstring.
In his absence, Ian Kinsler assumed the leadoff spot, hitting .200 with three runs scored and one home run over the first three games of the series. Andres Blanco and Cristian Guzman picked up the slack defensively.
Quote to note
While the Rangers hit a rough patch, losing five consecutive games on their 10-game road trip, manager Ron Washington thought the whole complexion of the trip would change with a win in Thursday's finale vs. the Blue Jays. With their 4-2 victory, the Rangers have won a series, lost a series and tied a series on their swing.
"We win tonight, it takes a load off of those guys out there in the clubhouse, simply because we haven't been playing our type of baseball," Washington said before the game. "If we play our type of baseball again tonight and come away with the win, of course we feel good about coming home. We certainly can't get back what happened, all we can do is try to learn from it and take from what happened tonight and move forward. The thing about this game is there is always the next day."
James Hall is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.