The Texas Rangers are off to a fast start on the mound this season. On Wednesday night they broke the major league record for the most strikeouts by a team in the first three games of a season.
The Rangers bested the Houston Astros 4-0 on Wednesday night while striking out 15 batters. That gave them 43 punch-outs through the first three games of the year, surpassing the previous mark of 42, set by the Cleveland Indians in 1966.
Clearly the Rangers have some solid guys working from the hill this season. Wednesday night’s shutout followed Yu Darvish’s near-perfect game from Tuesday night. Darvish was just one out away from tossing a perfect game and racked up 14 strikeouts in a 7-0 win.
The Rangers were led by Alexi Ogando Wednesday night. Ogando tossed 6.1 innings and allowed just four hits and no runs, while striking out 10 and walking just one batter. Michael Kirkman added two strikeouts in relief, while Joe Nathan closed things out by striking out the side in the ninth.
It was a great performance by Ogando, who spent all of last season in the bullpen, making 58 relief appearances. Ogando was originally a reliever as a rookie in 2010, then moved to the rotation in 2011, and after 29 starts he moved back to the bullpen in 2012.
In the season opener on Monday night, Texas lost to the Astros 8-2, but Matt Harrison, Derek Lowe, Jason Frasor and Joe Ortiz still combined for 13 strikeouts.
Wednesday night’s performance gave the Rangers consecutive shutouts for the first time since they had three straight in July 2011.
The first thought about how dominant the Rangers’ pitchers have been so far is “well, they did it against the Astros.” That’s certainly a valid point, but even the Astros should have been able to put the bat on the ball more than that.