The Daily Six Shooter June 25, 2012

Photo by Javi Perez/Playmaker Magazine
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1. The winning streak came to an end for the Texas Rangers over the weekend, but they still won the weekend series over the Colorado Rockies and are back on top of the mountain as the team with the best record in the major leagues. The game they lost was on Saturday when they were down 11-1 and their comeback came up short as they lost 11-7. They had runners on base often late in the game as well, so they had their chances to make the game closer and possibly tie it up.

Saturday’s loss was tough on Colby Lewis, who had a string of four straight quality starts broken as he allowed 12 hits and 7 earned runs in just four innings of work. The news almost got worse on Sunday when Matt Harrison was pulled after just five innings because of tightness in his back, but Harrison acknowledged that his injury was “no big deal” and that he won’t miss any starts. Ron Washington was just being cautious because Harrison is dealing like an All Star right now.

But the great thing to watch on Sunday was Leonys Martin, a Cuban defector that Texas signed last year. Martin was signed for a good amount of money and he’s been hitting great in the minor leagues. It’s largely accepted by now that Martin is the center fielder of the future for the Rangers, but Texas is so loaded in the outfield that the Rangers can hold him back in the minors and let him get at-bats before bringing him up.

Because of some injuries, Martin has been up with Texas for nearly two weeks and easily had the best game of his young career as he went 2-4 with 3 RBI’s in the Rangers 4-2 win. Elvis Andrus was the only other Rangers player with multiple hits, going 3-4 as he continues to heat up.

2. But the big news of the weekend for the Rangers was that Roy Oswalt made his first start on Friday against the Colorado Rockies. Oswalt was brilliant, going nearly seven innings and only giving up one run on nine hits while striking out six and walking one.

Oswalt was really close to getting through that 7th inning, but after throwing 110 pitches, Washington wasn’t going to take any chances and pulled him. Texas closed it out for the win and Oswalt got a standing ovation from the big crowd that showed up for his debut.

Roy-O did a solid job of spotting his pitches, but early in the game and late when he gave up his only run, he had some trouble keeping pitches down in the zone and sometimes they would get away from him. Although this would occasionally work in his favor when he would throw high fastballs away from the batter for strikeouts.

Oswalt’s next start will be Wednesday night against the Detroit Tigers. Justin Grimm, who had his start pushed back for Oswalt will start his 2nd game for Texas tonight against Detroit. Grimm gave up three runs in six innings of work against the Houston Astros last week.

Photo courtesy Michael Paulsen/Houston Chronicle
3. Speaking of the Astros, the offense finally woke up over the weekend. The pitching and defense has been excellent over the last five games as they’ve allowed just eight runs over that span. Houston scored just one run in a short three-game losing streak but exploded for 15 runs over the last two games to take their weekend series against the Cleveland Indians.

Carlos Lee continues to hit well since returning from injury. In the two wins this weekend, Lee went 4-8 with three RBI’s and two runs scored. Despite missing some time, Lee is improving hit hitting every month. His average and OPS have steadily risen which is a great sign for Houston considering he’s batting 3rd in the lineup. For the young kids to have an anchor like that is invaluable.

As for the pitching, while JA Happ had a strong outing for a win last night, it wasn’t nearly as impressive as Dallas Keuchel throwing a complete game on Saturday. Keuchel gave up just one run on four hits and needed just 107 pitches to finish off the Indians. His two starts have been big. While he took the loss in his first start against Texas, it wasn’t a bad debut as he threw five innings and only gave up one run. Keuchel is getting these starts because Bud Norris is hurt and Norris was the most reliable starter in the rotation. So Kruchel’s performance makes it easier to adjust to Norris’ absence and may be working his way into the rotation even when Norris comes back.

4. It wasn’t all good news on Sunday, though. Jose Altuve, the best hitter on the Astros roster, left yesterday’s game with a hamstring injury. Luckily it’s not serious and Altuve is listed as day to day (we’re all day to day). Houston is also lucky that they actually have some quality guys on the bench that have been hitting well when getting the opportunity. Brian Bixler subbed in when Altuve went out. And even though he went 0-2  the rest of the game, Bixler has a hit in each of his last seven starts and has a penchant for drawing walks and getting on base. Impressive for a young guy.

5. The US Olympic trials are going on as we speak and two Texas Longhorns are headed to London. Sanya Richards-Ross, whose married to two-time Super Bowl champion and national champion Aaron Ross, qualified in the 400 meters and will also attempt to qualify for the 200 meters as well. Richards-Ross has two gold medals from each of the last two Olympics in the 4×400 meter relay and a bronze medal in the 400 meters in the 2008 Beijing games.

Current Texas Longhorns wide receiver will go to the Olympics in the long jump. He jumped a personal best 27 feet and four inches. I don’t know why media outlets are reporting that number because the Olympics use the metric system. Converted into meters, Goodwin jumped about 8.22 meters. Had Goodwin made that jump in the previous Olympics, he would have won a bronze medal, so it’ll be exciting to see what he can do once he gets to London.

6. Finally, I enjoyed two new releases this weekend: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Brave.

If you haven’t seen our review of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, check it out. Adam Sweeney hit the nail on the head with that review as I enjoyed the movie exactly as he laid it out.

Brave was a surprise, though. The movie was unlike any other Pixar movie to date mostly because of the storytelling. In watching the trailers or reading a quick synopsis of any of the previous Pixar films, you know what you’re getting in to. There aren’t any major surprises that take the film in an unexpeceted direction. Pixar hasn’t had to rely on that because the movies tell such great stories that the formula almost doesn’t matter.

This is where Brave is different. Without giving any spoilers, whatever you think the movie Brave is about… I guarantee that it’s not about that. The movie is funny and sweet, but in a completely different way than any other Pixar film. The only possible problem I could possibly see the movie having is how rewatchable it will be in the future because the main conflict relies on an element of surprise and the end is emotional, but predictable.

I’d give the movie a B+, although that’s closer really to a B than an A. But I gave it a B+ because it took chances unlike other Pixar movies, I was laughing throughout, and the climactic scene was quite enjoyable from an action standpoint. Also, just listening to Merida talk with that awesome accent attached to a strong female character was a nice touch.

Of course, it helped that she was a redhead. Check out our Top 25 Redheads in Pop Culture list. There are animated characters and even a Muppet represented on the list.

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About Javi Perez

Javi Perez is a contributing editor with Playmaker Magazine heading up the sports desk, as well as covering the San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, film, and TV. He currently lives in San Antonio.