Thoughts on a 4-3 Rangers loss

Mike Maddux talks to Nick Tepesch - Otto Greule Jr

Nick Tepesch didn't replicate his first start performance and the Rangers lineup didn't do much to support him

Rangers 4, Seattle 3

  • Texas is now 8-5, but with Oakland losing, Texas is just a game out of first place in the A.L. West. They also have the 2nd best record in the A.L.
  • Each game in this four game set featured a team scoring exactly three runs. Seattle and Texas each won a 4-3 game and each lost a 4-3 game, and they each won a 3-1 game and lost a 3-1 game.
  • Nick Tepesch got the start today and pitched okay. His final line is 5.2 IP, 9 hits, 4 runs, 5 Ks, 0 walks and a HBP, and he allowed 4 XBHs. He battled and threw strikes, but had too many hittable strikes, although at least one of the doubles he allowed, by Kyle Seager, probably should have been cut off by Nelson Cruz before it got to the wall and Seager held to a single. All in all, it was a solid outing given Tepesch's experience level and the expectations...he kept the Rangers in the game and pitched well enough to win, though he didn't pick up the "W."
  • Michael Kirkman faced 6 batters, struck out two, and allowed two to reach base, although neither of those two should have reached base. The first batter he faced, Endy Chavez, got on when Adrian Beltre made a poor throw to first base, although Jeff Wilson tweeted that he thought Moreland should have made the catch. After retiring Jason Bay to end the 6th inning, Kirkman allowed an infield single when Raul Ibanez hit a dribbler that Mitch Moreland fielded, but then, inexplicably, didn't really do anything with, as he apparently couldn't decide between running to the bag or throwing to Kirkman, who was covering.
  • Good Tanner Scheppers showed up today and pitched the 9th, getting a K as part of a 13 pitch 1-2-3 inning.
  • Nelson Cruz had an adventurous sixth inning in the field that contributed to Tepesch allowing a pair of runs in the inning, coughing up the lead and getting knocked out. After Tepesch struck out Justin Smoak to start off the inning, Kyle Seager pulled a ball into right field for a hit. Cruz took a bad angle on the ball and was unable to cut it off, allowing Seager to get to second. Jesus Montero then followed that up with an opposite field blooper that fell in for a single. Seager challenged Cruz's arm, and a good throw home could have gotten him, but instead Cruz air-mailed the throw, sending it well over Geovany Soto's head and allowing Montero to advance to second, from which spot he scored when Dustin Ackley knocked a single into center field. A strong, accurate throw home from Cruz, and Seager is perhaps out at the plate, and this is potentially a different ball game.
  • It was another lethargic game from the Ranger offense, which got just 10 baserunners -- 6 hits, 3 walks and a Craig Gentry HBP. No one had a multiple hit day, and only Mitch Moreland and Lance Berkman managed to pair both a walk and a hit together.
  • The bench this afternoon consisted of Ian Kinsler, A.J. Pierzynski, Jeff Baker, and Leonys Martin. Wash's decision never to use any of them was, both at the time and in retrospect, one of the more controversial non-moves of the season thusfar. In the top of the 7th, Seattle brought a lefty into the game to face Mitch Moreland, who was allowed to face him and ended up drawing a walk. Leury Garcia immediately bunted Moreland over. The M's then brought in Stephen Pryor, a hard-throwing righty who fanned Elvis Andrus. Craig Gentry was due up next, and it seemed like an obvious spot to pinch hit either Kinsler or Leonys, particularly given that Gentry seems to have issues getting around on heat. However, Gentry stayed in the game, and struck out looking.
  • There were more curious non-moves in the 8th. Adrian Beltre drew a one-out walk, and then after Nelson Cruz flew out, the M's went to the pen for lefty Oliver Perez. David Murphy, who has been slumping and who is 1-13 against LHPs this year (and who has struggled against lefties his whole career) was left in to face Perez. Part of what made this move so baffling to me was that there was no counter move the M's could make...Perez was brought into the game and had to face at least one batter, so if you lift Murphy for Baker or Kinsler, Eric Wedge can't bring a righty in to counter that. Regardless, Murphy ended up hitting a pop up that fell into no-man's-land between second base and center field, giving the Rangers runners at first and third with two outs. Geovany Soto was allowed to hit, and flied out meekly to right field to put an end to the rally.
  • The 9th saw Tom Wilhelmsen come into the game, with Moreland, Garcia and Andrus due up. Garcia seemed to be the obvious choice to be lifted for a pinch hitter, if a move was going to be made, but he had blasted a triple earlier in the game that was less than a foot away from being a home run, which may have influenced Wash's decision not to hit for him. In any case, after a Moreland fly out, Garcia K'd, and then Elvis hit a line drive to right to end the game, with Wash's full complement of bench players all spending the entire game on the bench.
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