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Thoughts on a 6-2 Rangers win

A team meeting, followed by a Rangers victory. Woot!

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers 6, Blue Jays 2

  • I like doing these a lot more after a win than after a loss.
  • One of the things that Jon Daniels has said consistently, in regards to the injuries the Rangers are dealing with, is that it gives young players an opportunity to claim roles and show what they can do.  Some of the players the Rangers have looked to as possible options haven't taken advantage of that -- Tanner Scheppers and Robbie Ross, as starters, come to mind.  But on the other hand, Nick Martinez and Nick Tepesch appear to have the opportunity to seize a job in a major league rotation.  So long as the two Nicks perform adequately, they're going to stay in the rotation this year, and position themselves to be part of the 2015 rotation.
  • While we talk about all the things that have gone wrong this year -- and many, many things have -- we shouldn't overlook the positives that are out there.  Nick Martinez has been, to date, most definitively a positive in 2014.  Martinez, pressed back into duty as a starter after having pitched out of the bullpen the past couple of weeks, started running out of gas (understandably) around the 75 pitch mark, and thus could only go 5 innings, throwing 84 pitches (50 for strikes).  But he gave up just 4 hits and 3 walks while striking out 3, the lone run he gave up being a fourth inning Juan Francisco homer.  It was a very solid outing that lowered his ERA on the year to 2.28.
  • I feel like I mention this every time I talk about Martinez, but...Nick Martinez was a second baseman in college, an infielder who pitched in relief occasionally.  He was snagged in the 18th round of the 2011 draft because a scout saw something in him, and thought he had potential as a pitcher.  Less than three years after being drafted and converting to pitching, he's pitching in the major leagues, and pitching well.  This is a scouting and player development success story, and the folks who believed in Martinez and helped get him to this point deserve a lot of credit.
  • The Rangers have had a strong farm system for a while, and we tend to be dismissive of "low ceiling" guys, to blow off certain pitchers as being just another guy who, if things work out, could be a #4 starter.  But teams need pitchers like that, guys who can give a major league rotation quality starts -- especially while making the league minimum.
  • Aaron Poreda came into the game in the 6th inning, protecting a 2-1 lead, and gave up a game-tying homer to the second batter he faced, Edwin Encarnacion.  That made the third straight game in which he'd allowed a run, and been overly hittable in doing so.  Poreda settled down, though, and ended up picking up the win with a final line of 2 innings, 2 hits, 2 Ks, no walks and the 1 run.  Poreda's ERA on the year increased to 2.45, but it was encouraging to see him get back on track after the Encarnacion homer.
  • With a two run lead in the 8th inning, Shawn Tolleson was brought in to get the lead to Joakim Soria.  Tolleson pitched 1.2 innings yesterday, and seemingly threw 100 pitches in the bullpen yesterday while being up and down while Robbie Ross struggled.  Nevertheless, he retired all three batters he faced.
  • Soria didn't pitch yesterday, with the Rangers down 1 in the late innings, so Ron Washington said Soria would definitely pitch today (having not pitched since Monday, and with an off day tomorrow).  Soria wasn't quite as sharp as he normally has been, be it rust, lack of adrenaline with a 4 run lead, or just the vagaries of performance over a long season, but after allowing a 3-2 single to Francisco to lead off the inning and then a one out Brett Lawrie single (that probably would have been a DP if the shift weren't on -- and that's not a criticism of the shift, just an observation), he retired Dioner Navarro and Jose Reyes to seal the win.
  • Texas only had 7 hits today, plus 3 walks, but they made those hits count (as well as getting some help from some sloppy Jays defense).  The Rangers put up a pair of runs in the 4th, 7th and 8th, with Alex Rios tripling home Shin-Soo Choo and Adrian Beltre in the 4th, Mitch Moreland blasting a two-run go ahead homer in the 7th, and Choo and Beltre each driving home a run in the 8th.  Choo, in the midst of a bad slump, broke out with a 2 for 3 day with a walk and a double, and Mitch Moreland had a double and a homer in four at bats.
  • The Rangers were fortunate in that they clustered their solid offensive performances together today...the 7-8-9-1 hitters were 0 for 14 with a sac bunt and a walk, but the 2-3-4-5-6 hitters had 7 hits and 2 walks, allowing the Rangers to put up 6 runs despite not having a ton of baserunners.
  • Man, I'm glad we're going into this off day with a win.  I might not have shown up on here on Monday if we were coming off a sweep at home by the Blue Jays.