The Rangers clobbered the Red Sox on Tuesday, 18-3, opening a two-game miniseries in Fenway.

  • It’s the fourth time since 1991 that a Fenway guest scored 18+ runs; the other three were by the Yankees. The 15-run margin was the second-biggest over homestanding Boston in that span.
  • Texas became the first team this year to have all 9 starting batters score at least 1 run.

The defending AL champs came in at 8-2 with a 4-game win streak, having cleaned up on the two worst teams in the AL last year (6-1 vs. Seattle and Minnesota). This was their first crack at a team that had a winning record last year.

  • The 2011 Rangers went 40-17 in their own division and 25-18 against the AL Central, but just 22-22 against the AL East.
  • They went 6-4 against Boston last year, averaging 6.5 R/G and allowing 5.7. They won 2 of 3 at Fenway (during the September Swoon), scoring 28 runs with 6 HRs.

On Saturday, the Red Sox became the first team to get a HR from five different players. The Rangers matched that Tuesday, hitting 3 taters in a span of 4 batters in the 8th. The chief spud-slinger was Mark Melancon, who began that inning with a 22.50 ERA and left it at 49.00 (9 runs in 2 IP over 4 games).

  • Already in dutch with the Fenway Faithful after taking two ugly losses in the opening series, Melancon has now faced 17 batters and allowed 5 HRs. That ties him with Josh Beckett for the MLB lead (pending late games) and fuels the fire of those who questioned the offseason trade that brought in Melancon at the cost of SS Jed Lowrie.

After getting a day off in the wake of his manager’s curious criticism and subsequent apology, Kevin Youkilis started at 3B and fanned in all four trips — just the third time he’s donned the golden sombrero. Youk is now hitting .176 with 1 double and 3 RBI in 9 games, and has whiffed in 12 of 34 PAs.

Colby Lewis (7 IP, 2 runs, 7 Ks, no walks) now has 21 strikeouts against a lone walk this year. He joined Roy Halladay and Stephen Strasburg as the first pitchers with 3 Quality Starts; and like those two, Lewis has allowed 2 runs or less in each game.

Want more good company for Lewis? Here are the 9 pitchers who had 200+ IP and a SO/BB ratio of 3 or better in each of the past two years:

 ▴ Yrs From To Age
Roy Halladay 2 2010 2011 33-34 Ind. Seasons
Cole Hamels 2 2010 2011 26-27 Ind. Seasons
Dan Haren 2 2010 2011 29-30 Ind. Seasons
Felix Hernandez 2 2010 2011 24-25 Ind. Seasons
Cliff Lee 2 2010 2011 31-32 Ind. Seasons
Colby Lewis 2 2010 2011 30-31 Ind. Seasons
James Shields 2 2010 2011 28-29 Ind. Seasons
Justin Verlander 2 2010 2011 27-28 Ind. Seasons
Jered Weaver 2 2010 2011 27-28 Ind. Seasons

Lewis is the only one who has never been an All-Star, but that may change soon, especially with the exposure he’s gotten from going 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA in 8 postseason starts in 2010-11. (What’s that, you say? — Lewis hasn’t gotten much notice for these feats? Well, at least we know.)

Jon Lester threw 80 pitches and got just 6 outs, matching the shortest stint of his career. Despite a sterling 76-36 career record, he has not been a fast starter. In his first 3 starts of each season since 2008, Lester is a combined 2-9.

Only four other starts of 80+ pitches and 2 IP or less are known to the Play Index, all in the regular season:

Player Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit ▾ Str BF SB
Chris Young 2007-04-15 SDP LAD L 3-9 GS-3 ,L 2.0 7 5 4 5 2 0 84 47 18 4
Steve Parris 2000-04-21 CIN LAD L 2-9 GS-2 ,L 2.0 7 5 5 2 2 1 84 50 15 0
Russ Ortiz 1999-07-26 SFG STL W 10-8 GS-2 2.0 4 7 0 6 1 1 84 42 17 3
Jeff Suppan 1997-06-08 BOS CLE W 12-6 GS-2 2.0 4 5 5 5 1 1 80 42 15 6
[All tables provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used / Generated 4/17/2012.]

I left in the SB column because of the Suppan game: The combination of Mike Stanley behind the plate (he allowed 94 SB in 105 games the year before, with only 17% CS) and young Suppan on the hill (25 SB and 3 CS that year) allowed Cleveland to run amok, with 6 steals in the first 3 innings — 3 of them by noted burner Matt Williams, who twice stole 3rd base in the only 3-SB game of his career. (This game may have also signaled the end of Stanley’s career under the mask. He caught 12 more games for Boston that year before being dealt to the Yanks in August; he would play 3 more seasons but never caught again.) Yet for all the Indians’ dancing on the basepaths, the Red Sox scored 9 runs in the 4th and pulled away. That was 1997, folks.

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