Mariners 6, Rangers 5
- That was uncomfortably similar to Friday night's 6-5 loss to the M's. In both instances, you had your lefty groundball starter (Robbie Ross on Friday, Matt Harrison today) do solid if unspectacular work for 6 innings. And in both instances, you had one of your best relievers cough up the lead by giving up a big inning in the 8th -- Neal Cotts on Friday, Alexi Ogando today. So the Rangers lose 2 of 3 in Seattle, but still went 4-2 on a roadtrip where, before it started, I would have been happy with 3-3.
- On the pitching plus-side, Matt Harrison looked very Matt Harrison today, in his first start in the majors in over a year. Harrison allowed 2 runs in 6 IP, walking 2, striking out 4, hitting a batter, and allowing 3 hits. The runs Harrison allowed scored on a Robinson Cano RBI double in the fourth, and an ugly, gruesome two out wild pitch that Harrison threw about 10 feet short of the plate (that then bounced over Robinson Chirinos's head) in the sixth. All six baserunners Harrison allowed got on base in the fourth and in the sixth -- his other four innings, he went 1-2-3.
- Harrison was at 96 pitches after 6 innings, and I figured that Ron Washington would have Harrison face the lefty-swinging Kyle Seager (who had grounded to first and K'd against Harrison in his two plate appearances against him today) before turning to the pen. Instead, Shawn Tolleson came into the game to start the 7th, and Seager promptly homered off of him, making it a 5-3 game at that point. John Buck then hit a bullet to left field, that fortunately was right at Michael Choice. Willie Bloomquist struck out for the second out, but Michael Saunders then walked. Tolleson had faced four batters, two of them hitting the ball very hard and one of them drawing a walk. Alexi Ogando and Aaron Poreda were warming -- Poreda, presumably, would come in to face Robinson Cano, if Tolleson didn't get the next batter, Stefen Romero -- but Romero flew out to right field, ending the rally.
- Ogando started the fateful, 3 run 8th inning that cost the Rangers the game. Again, it was an interesting decision by Wash...Poreda presumably would have come into the game to face Cano, had Romero not been retired to end the 7th, but starting off the 8th, it was Ogando who came in to face Cano, instead of Poreda. That worked out fine, with Cano fanning on three pitches, followed by a Corey Hart three pitch K. Ogando then got up 0-2 on Justin Smoak, and tried to get him to chase a high pitch for strike three. Smoak laid off, then drove the next pitch off the wall in left field. Michael Choice got a bad break on it, and it looked like a play that a good left fielder could have caught, though I might be wrong there. In any case, Dustin Ackley then pinch hit, and hit a chopper that Elvis fielded but had no play on. And that brought up Seager, who homered to give the M's the 6-5 lead, and final margin of victory.
- I've said before, and I'll say again...there is nothing, it seems that is more momentum swinging than the two out, three run homer.
- There has been some criticism on Twitter and on here of Wash's bullpen management in this game, but I can't really put this on him. Yes, I'd probably have preferred to see Harrison pitch to Seager in the 7th, and have Jason Frasor go instead of Shawn Tolleson, but ultimately, Alexi Ogando, who is supposed to be one of your best pitchers, was one strike away from a 1-2-3 inning to close out the 8th with a 5-3 lead. He gave up the double to Smoak, then a weak infield hit to Ackley, before throwing an awful changeup that Seager destroyed. It was a bad outing, but it isn't like Wash has a ton of options in the pen right now. With Tanner Scheppers hurt and Neftali Feliz in limbo, the Rangers need Ogando to fill a late inning relief role. Ogando just made a bad pitch, and Seager made him pay.
- Something that shouldn't be overlooked...after the Rangers knocked Brandon Maurer out in the 4th inning, the offense was completely shut down by the M's bullpen. Seattle relievers threw 5.1 innings, and the Rangers garnered 3 baserunners against them, on two walks and a single. That's not good.
- Still, the Rangers are tied for first place in the A.L. West, with Oakland coming to town on Monday. This should be a fun series. Let's enjoy it...