Astros 6, Rangers 5
- I have mixed feelings right now. On the one hand, I'm very frustrated about losing a winnable game to the Houston Astros. On the other hand, I remind myself that the Rangers' starting pitcher was Tanner Scheppers, Kevin Kouzmanoff hit 5th, Donnie Murphy started at 2B, and J.P. Arencibia was the catcher. This is a team that is still missing several key members of the starting rotation and the starting lineup. We talked about wanting to hang around .500 for April while waiting for the team to get healthier. That's what the Rangers are doing.
- Tanner Scheppers went 7 innings. 6 of them were great. But in one inning, he lost his command and gave up 5 runs. Those 5 runs put the Rangers behind the eight ball and kept them behind much of the game.
- There were a couple of key defensive non-plays that were critical tonight. During the 5 run Scheppers inning, someone -- I don't remember who, and I don't want to look it up -- hit a pop up on the first base side. Prince Fielder took a Julio Borbon-esque route to the ball before pulling up as he went towards the stands, and was unable to make the catch as the ball fell in the first row. That should have been a catch, and if it had been caught, Scheppers gets out of the inning giving up less than 5 runs. Then in the 10th, Alex Rios mis-played the Jason Castro blast off the wall that ended up being a triple. If Rios plays the ball right and holds Castro to a double, Castro likely doesn't score in the 10th, and the Rangers aren't going into the bottom of the inning down a run.
- In the 8th inning, with Elvis Andrus on first base, Alex Rios hit a blast into the left-center field gap for a run-scoring double. It set the Rangers up with a runner on second, no one out, down a run, with Prince Fielder up. Rios, inexplicably, tried to steal third, was thrown out, and snuffed out a rally. It was just an awful, awful decision, and even Ron Washington, after the game, called it a "poor decision on his part." And it seems emblematic of a team that, right now, is pressing, is trying to do too much, is having bad ABs and making bad decisions and is just not playing smart baseball.
- The Astros had a runner on third base with one out in the top of the 10th, and Jose Altuve got the runner home with a fly ball. The Rangers had a runner on third base with one out in the bottom of the 10th, and Kevin Kouzmanoff struck out. The Astros executed in that situation, and the Rangers didn't. That was the difference in the ball game.
- Michael Choice pinch hit against a lefty down a run in the 9th. Michael Choice hit a game-tying home run that, at the time, I was sure was going to lead to a Rangers win. It didn't, but hopefully, Choice will get some more opportunities like that going forward.