Angels 7, Rangers 3
- When you aren't a very good team -- and this current roster isn't very good -- you have less margin for error. Small mistakes can snowball, and end up changing the game very quickly. And so it was last night. In the 4th inning, with runners on second and third and one out in a 1-1 game, Erick Aybar hit a sharp grounder to Brad Snyder at first base. Josh Hamilton, the runner at third, was going on contact, and was a dead duck at the plate. However, Snyder threw the ball away, and instead of there being runners on the corners and two outs, there were two runs home and a runner on second with one out. Aybar ended up scoring on a two out single, and a game that likely would have gone to the top of the 5th tied at 1, had Snyder made a good throw, was instead a 4-1 Angel lead, that turned into a 7-1 blowout in the next inning. A throwing error on a routine play changed the complexion of the entire game.
- And here's the thing...while that is a routine play, its being made by a guy who had never played first base until a couple of weeks ago. Brad Snyder has played his entire career in the outfield before June, 2014. He got a crash course at playing first base, and then was thrown into the starting job there at the major league level because the Rangers had no other options. But he's being asked to do things he's never done before, and its more likely than usual he'll not do them right. When you spend your entire career practicing plays and throws, doing them in game action, you get muscle memory, they become ingrained and become routine...and even then, sometimes professionals screw it up during live game action. So I'm not inclined to kill Brad Snyder for making a bad throw last night in that situation, given that its something he has probably never been asked to do before. If you want to cast blame, blame the Rangers for being in a situation where they're having to ask someone who has never been a first baseman to be their everyday first baseman.
- Joe Saunders had his first bad outing since coming off the d.l., allowing a homer to the first batter he faced after getting a 1-0 lead, and ultimately giving up 7 runs in 4.2 innings, giving up 10 hits and walking 3 batters.
- On the other hand, Ben Rowen was pretty awesome. Rowen faced 11 batters, elicited a bunch of ground balls, struck out three batters, and allowed just a single base runner, on an infield single. According to FanGraphs, Rowen's average fastball velocity is 78.6 mph. According to Pitch f/x, Rowen hasn't thrown a fastball, but instead is throwing changeups, because they don't think a major league pitcher is going to throw a fastball that slowly. But Rowen has now thrown 5.1 innings without allowing a run, is throwing strikes, and is getting ground balls. Given the state of the major league team, Rowen should get plenty of opportunities to show that he can get major league hitters out this season with his unique, submarining style.
- On the plus side, with Rowen going 3 innings and the off day on Thursday, the Rangers will have a very rested pen tonight.
- Texas got a lot of baserunners last night, with 8 hits and 5 walks, and even had four stolen bases and another couple of bases picked up on a pair of wild pitches. But they couldn't get the baserunners home, stranding 9 on the game.
- Michael Choice, who has been struggling, hit a home run and drew a walk yesterday, which is encouraging. Leonys Martin, also struggling of late, had a hit and a pair of walks, and Elvis Andrus had a walk and a couple of hits. Texas just couldn't string enough of those hits together to push enough runs across the plate.
- Three games below .500. 10.5 games in the A.L. West. This season is disappointing.