Astros 2, Rangers 0
- Big ups to Robbie Ross, Jr., who made a spot start today in place of Miles Mikolas, just two days after Ross pitched in relief for the Round Rock Express. Ross was supposedly going to be limited to 60 pitches, but ended up throwing 70 pitches over 5 innings, striking out 5, walking 3 and not allowing any hits. Its been a weird journey for Ross, who was a pleasant surprise in 2012 when he surprisingly made the team as a reliever out of spring training, then was kind of a disappointment in 2013 when he fell apart in the second half of the season, and then has had a lost 2014 campaign after starting the season in the rotation, moving back to the pen, then getting sent to the minors. My guess is that he'll be one of two lefties in the bullpen for Texas to start the 2015 season, and hopefully, this is the start of a solid final month of the 2014 season for Ross.
- Phil Klein is another guy vying for a bullpen job in 2015, and he's pitched well, other than the pair of leadoff homers he allowed in his first two major league outings. He got dinged with the loss today, though, in a hard-luck outing. After pitching a scoreless 6th inning (and allowing Jose Altuve to break up the no hitter with a double), Klein gave up a four pitch walk to start the 7th, then allowed a bloop, opposite-field ground rule double to Carlos Corporan to put runners on second and third with no one out. Jake Marisnick then tapped a ball that Klein threw away, allowing both runners to score. And that was that...that was all the runs the Astros scored, but it was all they needed. A walk, a bloop double and a throwing error by Klein resulted in Klein picking up the loss today.
- Oh, hey, Shawn Tolleson pitched a scoreless 1.1 IP today, lowering his ERA to 2.80. He just continues to get guys out this season.
- Scott Feldman had a 3 hit complete game shutout for the Astros today, and it makes me wonder, once again, if he might not be on the Rangers radar this offseason. The Astros signed him to a 3 year, $30 million deal this past offseason, but it was frontloaded, so he is owed $10 million in 2015 and $8 million in 2016. The Rangers are obviously familiar with Feldman, and it may be that there is a "been there, done that" element to him that would dampen the Rangers interest (although there is talk they have interest in free agent to be Brandon McCarthy, who they've also been there/done that/got the t-shirt with), but Feldman is someone, like Ian Kennedy (who we've discussed before), who would represent a relatively small financial investment, while also not costing much in the way of prospects. As a #4 starter, you could do worse than Feldman.
- The offense had three hits. There's really no reason to talk about them today.
- I went to this game, and took Rowan with me. Rowan is six, and she likes going to the Rangers game, though that has more to do with getting ballpark food and chanting "lets go Rangers" and doing daddy/daughter bonding than anything all that baseball related. She got popcorn before we sat down (she insisted on getting the "bottomless tub" of popcorn, which has free refills, because she thought it was funny), then we went and got a snow cone, then we went and got a pretzel, then we went and got a refill of popcorn. After that, it was the sixth inning, and she was ready to go. Of course, there was a no hitter going on, and so I tried to talk her into staying a little while longer, but she had done all the baseball she wanted to do for the night. One of my rules is that, if I take my kids to the game, when they are ready to go, we go, because I want them to think of going to the baseball game as something fun to do, not some chore they have to sit through, and that means, if they are ready to leave, we leave. Last year, I took Seth to a game in September, and in the third inning, he wanted to leave. I couldn't talk him out of it, so we left in the middle of the third inning. Tonight, Rowan was ready to go in the sixth, so even with a no-hitter going, we left in the bottom of the sixth. Fortunately, Altuve doubled as we were leaving, so at least I knew I wasn't going to miss seeing a no hitter.
- In any case, the Rangers are playing out the string on a pointless season, and these games don't matter, and a lot of the players we are watching might not have a future here. But still, Rowan doesn't know that...for her, going to the game and eating a pretzel and a snow cone and popcorn, and chanting lets go Rangers, and watching the Kiss Cam (which featured a guy in a Leonys jersey proposing to his girlfriend, who was also in a Rangers jersey), and just being in the park, is fun. She likes when the Rangers are winning, but still, going to the game is about having an outing, not living or dying with the team. And so it was neat for me to get to go with her tonight, and enjoy daddy/daughter time, and hopefully help her develop a love for the game that she'll carry with her as she gets older.
- Strangely, the last time I took Rowan to a game at Minute Maid Park, the Rangers took a no-hitter deep into the game (it was Yu Darvish's second near no-hitter in Houston last year). And she was ready to go before the game was over. That time, I said no, and gave her the iPad and tried to get her to watch videos or play games or whatever, because I wasn't going to miss seeing a Yu Darvish no-hitter, especially after coming so close in the second game of the season. When the no hitter broke up, we left, and she told me as we went to the car that the next time we went to a game, it shouldn't be so long. I agreed, and silently vowed I was never taking her to a Yu Darvish start ever again.