Rangers 1, Mariners 0
- I was supposed to go to the game last night. In fact, I went to the game last night, with various male family members, and we hung out out there in the rain until close to 8, when we bailed and ended up going to Pei Wei to eat while waiting to see if the game would go. Once it was announced that the game wouldn't start until 10:15, the decision was made that we'd throw in the towel. I'm bummed out that I missed a quality Nick Martinez start last night, but I'm glad I didn't hang around until 1 a.m. to watch a loss.
- I also had tickets for today's game, the last Rangers game I was going to see in person this season, and it was an awesome day at the ballpark. There was scarcely anyone there, but the weather was nice, the game moved briskly, and the Rangers won. Derek Holland was great, Tim Bogar got his first win as a major league manager, and it was Guilder Rodriguez's first time on a major league roster, even if he didn't get into the game. So my trips to the ballpark this year at least ended on a high note.
- Derek Holland was really good today, going 7 innings, 93 pitches (including 59 strikes), 6 hits, no walks, no runs, 5 Ks. We've talked a lot about the Rangers in 2015, and whether they can be playoff contenders...but having this Derek Holland, along with Yu Darvish, at the top of the Ranger rotation is one of the big reasons why I feel like Texas should be playing meaningful baseball in late September next year.
- Shawn Tolleson threw a scoreless inning, and is sporting a spiffy 2.93 ERA on the year. Tolleson has been a nice find, and hopefully, can carry over his solid 2014 campaign into 2015.
- Neftali Feliz...ah, Neffy. For a bit, it looked like Feliz was going to blow the game...after getting Robinson Cano to ground out to second, he walked Kendrys Morales, and then gave up a hard-hit single to Kyle Seager, putting the tying run at third and go ahead run at first with one out. But Tim Bogar took a page out of Ron Washington's book, went out himself and talked to Feliz, and Neftali, for a couple of batters, looked like the Neftali Feliz of old, getting a James Jones popout and a Justin Smoak flyout to end the game and pick up the save.
- Feliz, as has been the case quite often this year, saw his velocity tick up as the inning went on. He started out the inning throwing 93-94 mph, but was hitting 96 and 97 mph against Jones and Smoak. Feliz has been frustrating this season, to the point there's been people suggesting he should be non-tendered, or just traded for whatever we can get while someone might give up something for him. But we keep seeing flashes...we know there is still velocity in that right arm. And he's still working his way back from Tommy John surgery...there's seemingly a knee-jerk reaction from some, that if he's not where you want him to be 18 months after surgery, he's "broken." But that's not necessarily the case...as I've mentioned before, Frankie Francisco had surgery in 2005, came back in 2006, was mediocre in 2007, and didn't really get back to his pre-surgery self until 2008, three years after surgery. Joe Wieland, just to give another example, had Tommy John surgery on July 27, 2012, and is only now returning to the majors, missing all of 2013 and not pitching this year, even in the minors, until July. Feliz had the procedure on August 1, 2012...he's 25 months post-surgery. So I'd hope that we'd be patient enough to see where he is this spring before just giving up on him.
- The Rangers had 6 hits today. 2 of those hits were bunt singles. 3 of those 6 hits were by Leonys Martin. It wasn't a good offensive performance...but then, as I mentioned on Twitter earlier today, we were rolling out a lineup that would get the organization fined if it were a spring training lineup, because there weren't enough regulars in there. The lone run scored in the sixth when Leonys singled, stole second, advanced to third on a ground out, and scored on an Adrian Beltre sac fly.
- One other item worth mentioning with the offense...the bottom of the third featured some rather remarkable baserunning by the Rangers. Ryan Rua started the inning with a single, then stole second base. Luis Sardinas hit a routine grounder to shortstop. Rua broke towards third, then stopped, which was a mistake...if he'd kept running, he might or might not have drawn a throw, and might or might not have been out. But by stopping, he was in no-mans-land, and ended up getting stuck in a rundown. Unfortunately, he didn't stay in the rundown long enough, so once he got tagged, Sardinas, who was trying to advance to second, was well off the base. As a result, he was thrown out at second, wiping out both baserunners. Then Leonys singled, but was thrown out trying to steal for the third out.
- But hey, the Rangers won, and those sorts of baserunning adventures are what happen when you have young players. Hopefully they learn from it, and do better next time.