Rangers 1, Twins 0
- I didn't do a "Thoughts" piece yesterday because everything about that game made me angry. I ended up sitting and hate-eating M&Ms in the dark after the game. Mike DiMuro should be embarrassed for how badly he blew the call when Adrian Beltre couldn't tag a Twin runner for the final out in the 9th because he ran out into left field. And Ron Washington should be embarrassed for not only having Chris Gimenez -- his 6th place hitter -- bunt early in the game with a runner on second and no outs, but for keeping the bunt on when there were two strikes. And that game just sucked. So no thoughts last night.
- The Rangers pitched a shutout in a game Joe Saunders started. Of course, Saunders only went five innings, which probably helped the cause.
- This was a 1-0 game that took around 3 hours and 15 minutes. And it was 9 innings. I don't understand how that happened.
- Actually, part of the reason it happened was the same reason Saunders only went five innings, despite not allowing any runs. Saunders threw 97 pitches in those five innings, and gave up roughly a zillion foul balls. Saunders ended up with a line of 5 IP, 5 hits, 2 walks and 6 Ks, but the phrase "smoke and mirrors" comes to mind here.
- Tepid, on Twitter, said "Joe is a 52 year-old actress still auditioning for 'young, perky mom with 2 young children'." Saunders seems to view himself as a rotation member on a quality team, but he appears to me to be indistinguishable from Scott Baker, and best suited for a swingman role.
- Shawn Tolleson, Neal Cotts, and Jason Frasor combined to give the Rangers three innings of shutout relief. And I feel like Tolleson's performance this season has been somewhat overlooked. Tolleson was claimed on waivers by the Rangers this offseason, wasn't expected to make the team, and has been given the rather thankless Mark Lowe role on this staff, the guy who is usually asked to come into the game when the team is trailing and pitch more than an inning while trying to keep things from getting out of hand. Tolleson has quietly put together a solid season, putting up a 3.00 ERA in 27 innings despite an ugly FIP. I don't know if it is sustainable, but Shawn Tolleson has been a key cog in the Ranger bullpen for the first couple of months of the season.
- Joakim Soria blew the save last night, and while the final run came across as a result of a blown call when Adrian Beltre tried to tag a runner who climbed up on the left field wall to avoid a tag before heading back to third base, then weak dribbler Soria couldn't get a handle on, the first run came across because Soria gave up a couple of hard hit balls. But Soria was great tonight, fanning a pair before getting the final out on a hard hit ball Beltre made a great play on, allowing him to register his 9th save on the year.
- I don't know what to say about the bats. I don't remember the offense really doing anything. Luis Sardinas drove in the only run of the game, which says a lot about this game, really. Leonys had a couple of hits. The Rangers didn't draw a walk, and the only XBH was Leonys's double.
- Leonys was the guy who Sardinas drove in for the lone run of the game. And it was in true small ball fashion that he put himself in position to score, bunting for a base hit, and then stealing second on a play that was close enough that the umpires reviewed it before confirming that yes, Leonys was safe. I think that's the only thing involving a Ranger hitter I remember.
- Wait, I also remember Elvis being thrown out when he apparently said something to 14 year old (or 27, I'm not sure which) minor league umpire Pat Hoberg while running past him back to the dugout after not getting a call on a pitch that he thought was ball four. I'm not sure what Elvis said, but unless he said the "magic words," it didn't look like he did anything to warrant being run.
- I'm glad the Rangers won, so don't take this the wrong way...but this was the most boring game I can remember watching in some time. This wasn't even a particularly thrilling pitchers duel. It was two not particularly good starting pitchers, who aren't very interesting to watch, not allowing runs to score before turning it over to the bullpen. When people complain that baseball is slow and boring, this is the game they are talking about.
- But really, who cares? The Rangers won. That's all that matters.
- 27-26. If Texas can split the next four -- one more in Minnesota tomorrow afternoon, and then three in Washington -- they come home with a winning record.