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Thoughts on an 8-7 loss

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Blue Jays 8, Rangers 7

  • The story of the night was Neftali Feliz. Coming off a complete game loss where he pitched well in Detroit while allowing 3 runs in 8 innings, and after getting his spot in the rotation skipped to give him extra rest, Feliz looked good his first couple of innings. He allowed a couple of singles, but elicited a double play in each inning, and seemed to be in control, with his fastball getting up in the upper-90s. Then in the third, it all went south. A pair of one-out walks to the #8 and #9 hitters, a grounder back to the mound, and then back-to-back homers by Kelly Johnson (who barely cleared the fence) and Jose Bautista (who hit a moonshot on a hanging slider) turned a comfortable 5-0 Ranger margin into a tight 5-4 game. Feliz didn't allow any more runs the rest of the way, but he never seemed right, either, struggling with his fastball command, and then getting lifted for Robbie Ross after walking the first two batters of the 6th.
  • Ross was in danger of picking up his first major league loss before the Rangers' two out ninth inning rally tied the score, and was in danger of doing so in a fashion that highlights how flawed won/loss decisions can be. With two on and none out in the 6th, guarding a two run lead, Ross elicited a pair of grounders to shortstop which generated three outs and got the Rangers out of the inning unscathed. In the 7th, Ross continued to pitch well and generate grounders, but without the same results. Elvis Andrus made an error transitioning the ball from his glove to his hand on a grounder to short, Brett Lawrie had a bleeder go into left for a single, and then Mike Napoli, trying to rush to make a play at third base after a Colby Rasmus bunt rather than take the sure out at first, failed to pick up the ball, resulting in a bunt single and Ross getting lifted with the bases loaded, no outs, and no balls being hit well off of him. Alexi Ogando came in in relief of Ross, three runs came in, and the Jays went from being down 2 to up 1 just like that.

  • After the Rangers rallied to tie the game at 7 in the 9th, Mike Adams gave up a walk off home run to Brett Lawrie, the only batter he faced in the game. It happens, even to the best, and Adams is one of the best.
  • The Rangers were hampered by their short bench tonight. With Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre hurting, the Rangers were left with, in essence, Yorvit Torrealba and Brandon Snyder as their bench, a situation that looked like it was going to come back to bite them when Craig Gentry crashed into the left-center field wall chasing after the Kelly Johnson homer. The trainer and Ron Washington came out, and initially it looked like he might not be able to stay in, but he shook it off and stuck it out until he was lifted for a pinch hitter in the 9th.
  • The pinch hitter was Beltre, who I had assumed would be unavailable after he stayed on the bench in the 8th when Darren Oliver was brought in to face Mitch Moreland. Beltre whiffed against closer Francisco Cordero, and with Gentry out, the Rangers had to go with a Snyder/David Murphy/Nelson Cruz alignment in the outfield for the (oh so brief) bottom of the 9th.
  • Leonys Martin was lifted in the middle of tonight's game for Round Rock. I hope he had his passport with him, because he may be on his way to Toronto to join the team before tomorrow's day game.
  • The offense was schizophrenic tonight for Texas. 21 year old rookie Drew Hutchison struck out the first four batters he faced, and then, with one out in the second, saw the Rangers touch him up for five runs before he escaped the inning. The Rangers got the first two batters on in the fourth, with a single and an error, and then recorded just two singles until there were two out in the top of the ninth inning, a 2-18 stretch.
  • Just when it seemed the Rangers were going to curl up and die, one out away from game over, bam-bam-bam -- three line drive singles, by Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, Michael Young, and it was a tie game. For a very brief time, anyway.
  • Mike Napoli was lifted in the 9th inning for Torrealba, with Ron Washington apparently saying in the post-game show on the radio that Napoli was seeing white spots. Trying to come up with a catcher seeing white spots/the ball is white/the ball is thrown to the catcher joke. Can't come up with anything. Sorry.