Thoughts on a 5-4 Rangers win

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers 5, Twins 4

Rangers 5, Twins 4

  • The split squad Rangers have now taken 3 of 4 on the road against the Tigers and against the Twins.  The starters for those eight games:  Yu, Scott Baker (X2), Nick Martinez (X2), Joe Saunders, Nick Tepesch, and Broke Hip Colby Lewis.  That's pretty remarkable.
  • Both games the Rangers lost over that eight game stretch were games started by Scott Baker.  That's not terribly meaningful, or even necessarily interesting, but I thought I'd point it out.
  • Over that eight game stretch, the Rangers have outscored their opponents 51-25.  That's good.
  • Texas is now 28-26, which means that they will be no worse than .500 on the season after the first two months.  We talked a lot about how the Rangers basically needed to play .500 ball the first couple of months of the season, and we could live with that.  Now, we were saying that at the beginning of the season, before this latest spate of injuries struck, and before we realized that Martin Perez and Matt Harrison and Prince Fielder and (maybe) Jurickson Profar would miss the rest of the year, but still...given what this team has had to deal with, I'm happy with 28-26.
  • Nick Martinez started for the Rangers today, and from the outset, it was clear that he was having issues with his command, particularly with his breaking ball, which had him working behind in counts and leaving balls over the plate the Twins could hit.  To his credit, however, he battled, he challenged the Twins hitters, and while he didn't pitch particularly well, he avoided a gascan outing and left the game with the Rangers in a position to win.
  • Martinez's final line:  5.2 IP, 9 hits, 2 walks, 2 Ks, and 4 runs.  Martinez now has a 2.75 ERA on the season.
  • Martinez might have been hooked before the sixth inning if the bullpen was in more of a position to provide innings.  But Scott Baker, the long reliever, started Tuesday, and Shawn Tolleson, the Rangers' other multi-inning reliever, pitched yesterday, as did Jason Frasor.  Ron Washington went with Alexi Ogando, who is defining high-beta in a relief role right now, to get out of a runner on first, two out situation with the score tied in the bottom of the 6th.  Ogando walked Brian Dozier, but then got out of the inning by getting Joe Mauer to ground out, then held the Twins scoreless in the 7th despite allowing a walk and a hit.  It took 35 pitches, but Ogando got the Rangers to the 8th.
  • After Jason Frasor pitched a scoreless 8th inning, Wash opted to go with Neal Cotts to face Mauer to start the 9th.  I thought he was simply giving Joakim Soria, who pitched the previous two days, the game off, but after Cotts retired Mauer, Wash brought in Soria to get the final two outs.  There was a bit of a scary moment, when Soria allowed a two out single to Oswaldo Arcia, bringing Josh Willingham, who homered earlier in the game, to the plate.  I had nightmarish visions of Willingham hitting his second homer of the game (and the season) to walk off the game, with another blown save sending things into a deathspiral.  But Soria got Willingham to K looking, and the Rangers won.
  • Soria is an absolute joy to watch pitch.
  • The Rangers loaded up the bases in the 2nd with no one out, on singles by Alex Rios and Michael Choice and a Leonys Martin walk, but it looked like the prime opportunity would go to waste, with Robinson Chirinos flying out to right and Rougned Odor fanning.  Shin-Soo Choo cleared the bases with a two-out double, though, giving the Rangers an early 3-0 lead.
  • Leonys Martin scored the 4th and 5th runs of the game, in interesting fashion.  Leonys smoked a ball down the right field line that went off the wall for what appeared to be an easy double.  Leonys was jogging out of the box, though -- amusingly enough, when FSSW was showing a replay, Mark McLemore praised Leonys for running hard out of the box right as they showed him just trotting up the baseline -- and when he realized the ball wasn't going to go out, he turned on the jets, barely beating the throw to second by Oswaldo Arcia.  Ron Gardenhire challenged the safe call, it was sustained, and Chirinos then singled Leonys home to tie the game at 4.
  • After nearly being thrown out at second in the 6th, you had to assume that, when Leonys hit a blast to right-center to lead off the 8th, he was going to be running hard the whole way.  You'd assume wrong.  Leonys went into his home run trot, only to see the ball hit off the top of the wall, and what should have been a leadoff triple ended up being a leadoff double.  The mistake ultimately didn't matter -- Chirinos bunted Leonys to third, and then Rougned Odor brought Leonys home with a sac fly -- but still, I found myself wondering, after he had almost gotten thrown out for Cadillacing out of the box two innings earlier, Leonys would do the same thing again.
  • 12 hits for the Rangers, with Choo, Choice and Adrian Beltre joining Leonys with 2 hit games.  Every starter other than Odor got a hit today.
  • Daniel Robertson, he of the broken face, got back on the field for the first time since his face was broken today, entering the game in the 9th as a defensive sub for Michael Choice.  I didn't see if he was wearing a mask.
  • The Rangers now head to Washington, where they look to finish strong on a road trip that they've started off 6-2 on.  Go Rangers...
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