Thoughts on a 5-4 Rangers victory

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 06: Ian Kinsler #5 of the Texas Rangers is congratulated in the dugout after scoring the game-winning run during the game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on September 6, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Rangers 5, Royals 4

  • Scott Feldman avoided his sixth consecutive loss tonight, getting a no decision after going 6.1 innings and allowing 3 runs. It was a very Feldman-like outing...no walks, 6 Ks, but some poorly located pitches that Royals hitters took advantage of. Three Kansas City runs came across in the first two innings, but Feldman was able to keep a lid on things after that.
  • Feldman left in the bottom of the 7th with a 4-3 lead, with Ron Washington choosing to lift him in favor of Michael Kirkman with Eric Hosmer coming up. The lefty/lefty matchup made sense to me, but after falling behind on Hosmer 3-1, Kirkman threw Hosmer a high fastball that Hosmer took the opposite way for a game-tying home run. The Rangers, in a mild upset, didn't acquire a veteran lefty reliever at the trade deadline, which means that the two lefthanders in the bullpen in the playoffs will likely be Kirkman and Robbie Ross. This is that type of situation Kirkman will be counted on to perform in come October, and I suspect that Wash will continue to utilize him against lefty hitters late in games.

  • Tanner Scheppers, Mike Adams and Joe Nathan combined for 3.1 shutout innings, with Scheppers picking up a pair of Ks. Much stronger performance than last night.
  • It is remarkable how quickly this offense can turn things around. After three innings, the Royals were up 3-0, and things were looking less than promising, as Luke Hochevar had retired the first nine Rangers. But with one out in the fourth, Michael Young singled, Josh Hamilton homered, and Adrian Beltre homered...and like that, it was a 3-3 game, a game that the Rangers suddenly seemed back in control of.
  • Another two hit game for Adrian Beltre, who is en fuego. And a two hit game for Michael Young, who seems like he may be heating up.
  • An interesting decision by Ian Kinsler in the 10th. Leading off the inning, he hit a deep smash that appeared to be heading over the fence for a home run, but ended up bounding off the wall. With no outs, the safe play was to stay at second base, but Kinsler chose to challenge the Royal outfielders and try for third, just beating a good throw from Alex Gordon to make it in safely. If you're safe on that, its aggressive baserunning. If you're out, its stupid baserunning. Kinsler was safe, and ended up scoring the winning run when Michael Young singled him home.
  • Also in the interesting decision category...Elvis Andrus got most of the day off (he came in in the bottom of the 10th for defensive purposes), but Michael Young, rather than Jurickson Profar, got the start at shortstop. Then, in the top of the 9th, Ron Washington allowed David Murphy and Mitch Moreland to face the lefty reliever Tim Collins, despite having Profar, Mike Olt, Brandon Snyder and Elvis Andrus on the bench, then let Craig Gentry hit against a righthander instead of Profar or Leonys Martin. The Rangers won, so its all for the good, but I'm starting to think the issue of the bench makeup in the postseason will actually be a non-issue, as I'm not thinking Ron Washington is going to be inclined to use his bench much, if at all.
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