Nationals 10, Rangers 2
- The better your stuff, the greater your margin for error when your command is off. Nick Tepesch doesn't have great stuff, and thus needs to locate his pitches to have success. Tepesch was, quite simply, not locating well today. When that happens, he's usually going to get hurt, badly. And that's what happened today, with Tepesch being lifted for a pinch hitter after just 2 innings, allowing 7 hits (including a pair of homers), 2 walks and a strikeout, with 5 runs coming across the plate. It was an awful outing, and now we'll just need to see how Tepesch bounces back.
- Scott Baker was brought in to start the third inning, with just three days rest since he started in place of Yu Darvish against the Twins, and he gave up a 3 spot in the 4th inning to make it an 8-0 game and effectively put the game out of reach. At that point, it was just a matter of how many innings Baker could soak up, and he ended up pitching 5 innings, using 85 pitches and allowing 5 runs. I wouldn't be shocked if Baker were designated for assignment tomorrow to get the Rangers a fresh arm in the bullpen.
- Interestingly, Ron Washington sent Nick Martinez up to hit for Tepesch in the top of the 3rd inning. Martinez is probably the best hitter among the Rangers' starting pitchers, and I assume Wash didn't want to burn a legitimate pinch hitter that early in the game, with two outs and no one on. Martinez grounded out to end the inning.
- Texas did manage a pair of runs, on a Rougned Odor double that drove home Alex Rios in the 4th, and a Mitch Moreland double that drove home Shin-Soo Choo in the 5th. All that really did, though, was save the offense the embarrassment of being shut out. The offense was pretty much lifeless -- there were five hits on the day, a single and four doubles, and just a lone walk.
- Evan Grant made reference to the fact that this was game nine of a ten game road trip, and an extremely early start, to boot, which may help explain some of the lifelessness today. I've seen a couple of veteran writers say that this is a byproduct of the greenies ban...its a long season, and its harder, without that artificial boost, for players to muster up the level of energy they need in games like this.