A's 4, Rangers 0
- Yu Darvish is a remarkable pitcher, one of the best on the planet. And yet, he's mortal, and nights like this are a reminder of that. Yu, from the outset, couldn't command his fastball. He tried to compensate for that by throwing his other pitchers, but in the third inning, he lost his feel for the offspeed stuff, as well, and watching him became a form of torture. It took Yu 83 pitches to get through 3.1 innings, and he was yanked in the 4th in favor of Aaron Poreda. These sorts of problems strike Yu from time to time, and it seems to be exacerbated when facing the A's, who are patient and willing to work the count, making Yu throw lots of pitches and being less likely to chase balls out of the zone. These outings happen. Hopefully, good Yu will be back next time out.
- The offense was terrible. Elvis Andrus was hitless, and is now 1 for his last 22 and 3 for his last 34. Prince Fielder was 0 for 4 again, and even when he hits the ball hard, it seems to be on the ground and into the teeth of a shift that is playing him perfectly. Texas had a total of five baserunners on the game -- singles by Alex Rios, Robinson Chirinos and Leonys Martin, a walk by Michael Choice, and a Chirinos HBP. Two of those baserunners were wiped out by GIDPs, so A's pitcher Sonny Gray faced only three over the minimum en route to a complete game shutout.
- One positive from the game was one of the more incredible defensive plays you'll see...in the 8th inning, on a blast to the deepest part of the park in right-center by Daric Barton, Leonys Martin went back on the ball and, on a dead run, made a leaping catch, robbing Barton of either a double or a home run. But that's not all...Leonys then uncorked an incredible throw to first base, about as long of a throw as you'll see a major leaguer make, and was able to double Josh Reddick off of first base. If you didn't see that play, catch a replay...I'm sure it will be on mlb.com at some point this evening (it isn't up yet, or I'd embed it here).
- Here is a shot from Google Maps, courtesy of akaDrSmack, showing that the throw went about 100 yards:
- Of course, throwing off the joy of that play was the fact that Reddick was called safe initially. And Ron Washington had used both of his challenges already on plays at first base -- one successfully, one unsuccessfully -- so he couldn't challenge it, but the umpires have the discretion to review a play if they choose to. They reviewed it, reversed the call, and Reddick was out.
- Also, Nick Martinez did a solid job in long relief, pitching 5 innings of shutout ball. He gave up just 2 hits (albeit with 3 walks against 2 Ks), and his ERA is now down to 2.81 on the season. The Rangers have all their other arms fresh and rested in the pen for tomorrow's game, and while Martinez may end up being sent down tomorrow so Texas can bring up another arm (after throwing 77 pitches, he likely won't be available again until Friday or Saturday), he definitely did his job tonight in helping to save the rest of the pen.
- But ultimately, the story of tonight's game was that Yu was bad and the offense was worse. This isn't a real good offensive team, especially with Shin-Soo Choo out (though Choo did pinch hit tonight, and will apparently DH tomorrow). I'm not sure how much of tonight's performance is because Sonny Gray was great, and how much was because the bats were awful. But this is a Rangers team that is going to have to lean on its pitching and defense to win games this year.