Thoughts on an 8-6 Rangers victory

Cooper Neill

A win! At home, even!

Rangers 8, Orioles 6

  • Colby Lewis started today, and it seemed like he pitched like he has pitched in just about every game this season.  He threw some good pitches, seemed like he was pitching well, and was one or two pitches away from having a solid outing.  But those one or two pitches cost him, and he ended up allowing 5 runs in 5 IP, with his ERA ballooning up to 5.77 on the season, even though he had a FIP of 3.98 heading into tonight's game.  Lewis's problem has been that he's throwing too many hittable strikes -- he came into the game with a BABIP over .400 (.401), and after today's outing, it is down to "just" .397.  Coming into today, he had a line drive rate of 24.7%, which suggests that the elevated BABIP isn't a fluke.  If Lewis can't throw better strikes, he's going to keep getting hit hard.
  • On a more positive note, Robbie Ross, Jr., threw 2 shutout innings, fanning 2 and not allowing a baserunner.  Ross has, like Lewis, struggled with his command, putting too many pitches out over the plate, but he looked good today and ended up picking up the win.
  • Tanner Scheppers pitched today for the first time since going on the d.l. in mid-April, and had a mixed outing.  Scheppers came into the game in the 8th inning, protecting an 8-5 lead.  The first batter he faced, Adam Jones, homered off of him, and then Chris Davis grounded out sharply to second base.  A J.J. Hardy walk had me wanting Ron Washington to get Joakim Soria up in the bullpen, so he could pick up a five out save if necessary.  It wasn't necessary, though, as Jonathan Schoop hit into a 5-4-3 GIDP to end the inning, giving Scheppers a hold.
  • Joakim Soria came into the game and pitched like Joakim Soria.  He faced three batters, struck out one, retired the side in order, and looked masterful in doing it.
  • Texas had three big innings today, putting up all 8 runs in those frames.  They jumped on top early, with Mitch Moreland singling home Shin-Soo Choo and Elvis Andrus in the first, and it looked like they were primed to push across even more when Adrian Beltre then singled, putting two on with no one out and two runs across.  Alas, Alex Rios swung through a Paul Lynde fastball that should have been deposited in the seats, resulting in him sitting down with a K, and then Chris Gimenez hit into an inning-ending double play.
  • The Rangers kept pouring it on in the second, though, chasing Baltimore starter Chris Tillman five batters into the second inning, when he couldn't record an out.  Leonys Martin singled, setting up a two-run Michael Choice bomb, and then Rougned Odor and Choo both walked, with Elvis then singling Odor home.  Once again, though, with runners on first and second and no one out, Texas couldn't get any more runs across, as reliever Brad Brach elicited a grounder by Mitch Moreland that forced Elvis at second, and then Beltre hit into a GIDP to end the inning.
  • Baltimore tied it with 2 runs in the third and 3 runs in the fifth, but the runs in the fifth could have been avoided with a little better defense from Leonys.  The Orioles had runners on first and third with one out, and Nelson Cruz coming up, which was worrisome, but Colby fanned Nellie for the third time in the game (three of Colby's four Ks were against Cruz), bringing up Adam Jones.  Jones stung a line drive into left center, but it appeared at first to be playable.  Leonys, however, was shading Jones the other way, didn't seem to get a good read on it, and ended up having to make a half-dive for the ball.  He didn't catch it, and what looked like it should have been the third out instead was a two run double.  Chris Davis then smoked a single to right field to tie the game, before Colby escaped by getting J.J. Hardy to pop out on a breaking ball up in the zone to end the inning.
  • Leonys made another bad decision earlier in the game...in the third inning, on first with two outs, he stole second base fairly easily.  On the very next pitch, though, Leonys broke for third, and was thrown out be a comfortable margin.  Absolutely baffling why he would be trying to steal third with two outs, and his decision ended the inning for the Rangers.
  • The big eighth inning was a combination of iffy pitching and bad J.J. Hardy defense.  Rougned Odor led off the inning with a grounder to short that Hardy threw away, putting Odor on second with a single+error.  Choo moved Odor to third on a grounder to second, and then Odor scored on an Elvis Andrus grounder that resulted in Hardy's second error of the game.  Alex Rios and Chris Gimenez singled later in the inning, each of them bringing home a runner, giving the Rangers a pair of insurance runs and Rangers fans half-price pizza tomorrow.
  • A bunch of baserunners for Texas today, as they had 13 hits and 5 walks.  Elvis, Beltre, Rios, Choice and Gimenez all had two-hit games, with Mitch Moreland, Odor and Leonys each picking up a hit apiece.  Odor also drew the first two walks of his major league career.  Choo was the only Ranger hitter not to get a hit, but he drew a pair of walks, so it was okay.
  • Choice's big night was especially encouraging, as he had a double and a homer in four at bats.  The Rangers traded for Choice because they thought he would hit, but he hasn't hit much so far this season.  Given the issues the team has with the lineup, Choice getting into a groove would be a big thing.
  • Choice was lifted for a pinch runner, Daniel Robertson, after doubling in the eighth, seemingly having an issue with his foot.  I was paying more attention to the draft at that point, though, so I'm not sure what the deal was.  Robertson made a curious decision on the basepaths that inning, when he broke towards home from third base on an Elvis Andrus line drive to right field.  He retreated back to the bag, but not in time to be able to tag and try to score from third.  If he had been tagging on that ball, he had a good chance of scoring.  In any case, it didn't matter, as Soria closed out the game.
  • This also could have been Robertson's last appearance with the Rangers for a while...Jim Adduci is close to returning to the active roster, and Robertson is the player who will most likely be sent down to make room for Adduci, with that happening as soon as Saturday.
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