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Thoughts on a 5-4 Rangers win

A win! A win! For the first time in forever!

Rick Yeatts

Rangers 5, Twins 4

  • This clip from Bull Durham sums up how I feel right now:
  • Yes, yes, I know, we should all be intelligent fans and root for the Rangers to be really terrible so they'll get a better pick.  And yes, I know, at this point, the team isn't going to make the playoffs, they're going to be sellers in July, so individual wins and losses don't really matter right now.
  • But man...I love winning.  Its, like, better than losing.
  • Yesterday, I wrote at length about Nick Martinez, and his growing pains.  He had an awful game yesterday, as bad as I've seen him, and I talked about how the rest of the 2014 season is about guys like Martinez going through growing pains and trying to figure it out.  Nick Tepesch's performance today is the flip side of that...Tepesch, today, in his 25th major league start, pitched perhaps the best game of his major league career.  He went 7.1 innings, matching the deepest he's ever gone into a game in the majors, and oddly, that other 7.1 inning start was his first major league appearance.  Tepesch allowed just 3 hits, 2 walks, and a HBP while striking out 5, and he left the game to a rousing ovation from the home crowd.
  • Tepesch is still a work-in-progress.  I find Tepesch and Nick Martinez to be similar pitchers, righthanders who can throw multiple pitches for strikes, have decent but not great stuff, and need above-average command in order to succeed.  Tepesch had 16 games above A ball when the 2013 season started and he ended up in the rotation in early April, much like how Martinez had just 5 starts above A ball when this season started.  Tepesch is ahead of Martinez, but their paths are similar, and its fascinating to me, watching the two in the rotation together, and the similar challenges they face.
  • This is the second time in his last three starts Tepesch has not allowed a run while walking 2 batters and striking out five.  That second time, though, he allowed just 2 hits, not 3.
  • We won't talk about Joakim Soria's night tonight, if that's okay with you.  We'll just chalk it up to rust and move on.
  • Soria, incidentally, hasn't allowed a run to a team other than the Twins since April 12.  And he's allowed runs in 4 games this season -- 1 run in 1 game, 2 runs in 1 game, 3 runs in 1 game, and 4 runs in 1 game.
  • Ron Washington decided to shake things up with the offense by putting Shin-Soo Choo in the leadoff spot, and putting Carlos Pena, who was sitting on his couch (probably in Norman, Oklahoma, next to Barry Switzer) two weeks ago wondering if his career was over, in the #3 spot.  The season-long struggle with the #3 spot is a bizarre subplot of the 2014 campaign.  Rangers third place hitters are hitting .221/.276/.328 on the season, before today's game.
  • The top of the order did some things, though.  Choo had a three hit game, Elvis Andrus had a hit and a walk (probably inspired by the hateful things said about him in the comments of last night's "Thoughts" post), Carlos Pena had a hit, and Adrian Beltre hit a two run homer.  So that was nice.
  • Also getting hits tonight were Luis Sardinas and Leonys Martin.  The Rangers only had 8 hits and 2 walks, but they made them count.
  • won't let me embed Beltre's homer, for whatever reason, but you can watch it here.