Blue Jays 9, Rangers 6
- Its been a frustrating season for Nick Tepesch, who seems to have spent the year taking a step forward, and then a step back. On the heels of a very solid outing last time, Tepesch was looking to string together two Quality Starts in a row. Instead, Tepesch didn't make it through 5 innings, and was lucky to only allow 5 runs on 8 hits, 2 walks and an HBP in 4.1 IP. Tepesch didn't strike out anyone, and this was one of those outings where he was throwing strikes (67 strikes out of 99 pitches on the day) and getting ahead of hitters, but couldn't put them away, and then would end up leaving a pitch out over the plate that would get hit. Tepesch needs very good command to succeed as a starter, and as we've seen this year, when his command is on, he gives his team a chance to win. When his command is off, we end up getting an appearance from Shawn Tolleson.
- Oh, and Shawn Tolleson did pitch today. And had a good outing, retiring all five batters he faced, three via the strike out. When we are talking about who will be in the Rangers' 2015 bullpen, don't you have to figure Tolleson has gone a long way towards earning a spot?
- Neftali Feliz came in and gave up a home run to the first batter he faced. That being said, it was a very encouraging outing from Feliz, who was throwing in the mid-90s, and not in the 90-91 mph range as has too often been the case. Even on the home run he allowed, he got up 0-2 on the batter, and then throw a sloppy...I'm not sure what it was. It was an offspeed pitch that was at 87 mph, but I couldn't tell if it was supposed to be a change up or a breaking ball. Either way, it was in a horrible location, up and in, and Melky Cabrera crushed it.
- Matt West had his first rough outing in the majors, giving up 3 runs on 5 hits -- all singles -- in his one inning of work, turning a 6-5 deficit into a 9-5 deficit. I was a little surprised that Wash didn't go with Neal Cotts -- or hell, bring in Joakim Soria, who is rested and is presumably being showcased anyway -- but this is about player development at this point, not wins, and West developed his way today to allowing three runs. Tepid and I had this exchange about West on Twitter:
West's FB often has very good velo, but never much wiggle, and sometimes not much location.— Tepid Participation (@TepidP) July 20, 2014
@lonestarball very similar. I'd like to see Matt throw his CB more. He has trouble throwing it for a strike, but he needs to mix more.— Tepid Participation (@TepidP) July 20, 2014
- And to be clear, if Matt West turns into another Mark Lowe, then he's a player development success story -- a Mark Lowe-type middle reliever has value, particularly at the league minimum.
- The Rangers had Shin-Soo Choo and Alex Rios both on the bench today, which meant a lineup featuring Dan Robertson at the leadoff spot and Chris Gimenez hitting cleanup, with Jake Smolinski firmly ensconced in the number five spot. And of course, that lineup ended up scoring a bunch of runs, coming just one short of getting everyone half-price pizza. Baseball.
- Of the first five Ranger runs that scored, four of them were driven in by Robertson. The fifth scored on a bases-loaded Mark Buehrle balk.
- The Rangers actually got the tying run to the plate in the 9th inning against Casey Janssen. Elvis Andrus got on with a one-out single, then advanced to second on an Adrian Beltre groundout. With two outs, Gimenez singled home Elvis, and then Smolinski followed that up with a single of his own. With the score at 9-6, two on and two outs, Wash sent Shin-Soo Choo up to hit for Geovany Soto, and Toronto countered with lefty Aaron Loup. Wash then went back to the bench and got J.P. Arencibia, who worked the count to 3-2 before popping out to end the game.
- I'm assuming that Wash felt, with a short bench and Leonys Martin, Adam Rosales and Rougned Odor due up next, that his best chance was to roll the dice with Arencibia and see if he could go deep against the lefty to tie the game. Given Choo's ankle, his recent struggles and how he hits lefties, I think having Arencibia hit for him is reasonable.
- But geez...it really sucks to have the backup catcher with the 486 OPS, who was DFA'd a couple of months ago, pinch hit for your $130M outfielder who was supposed to jump-start your offense.
- Jim Adduci is likely being activated from the disabled list tomorrow, and I wouldn't be surprised if Choo went to the d.l. to make room for him. There seem to be three possible options for Adduci...send Dan Robertson down, put Choo on the d.l., or send a pitcher down and punt the decision on sending down a position player until Tuesday, when Nick Martinez will be activated from the d.l.
- I'm finding myself really hoping that the sprained ankle is having a significant impact on Choo's play. Ankles get better. Suck doesn't.