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Thoughts on a 5-1 Rangers loss

Jays 5, Rangers 1

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Jays 5, Rangers 1

  • Well, so much for the sweep.
  • Martin Perez...ah, Marteen.  Perez retired the first six batters he faced, giving me hope that the really, really good Marteen was here today.  Then in the third, Dioner Navarro doubled to lead off the inning -- the first of what would be four innings in a row when Perez let the leadoff batter get on.  An infield single and a GIDP later, Toronto had a 1-0 lead.
  • Things got really scary in the fourth.  Josh Donaldson doubled to lead off the inning, and then a Jose Bautista fly out sent him to third.  Edwin Encarnacion was intentionally walked, bringing up Chris Colabello...who also walked, loading the bases.  And then Troy Tulowitzki walked, forcing in a run, making it a 2-0 game, and leading Fox Sports 1 to frequently cut to the bullpen, where Chi Chi Gonzalez was working with some urgency to get ready.  A meltdown seemed to be coming.
  • And then Navarro hit into a 4-6-3 GIDP, allowing Perez to escape with minimal damage.  Kevin Pillar singled to start the fifth, and a lackadaisical play by Delino DeShields -- who didn't have a great defensive game -- allowed Pillar to go to second.  A sac bunt sent Pillar to third, but Ben Revere lined a ball to Rougned Odor, and Pillar, who was going on contact, was doubled up.  Still 2-0, and it seemed likely Perez's night was done.
  • But to my surprise, with righthanders due up a third time, Perez was left in the game to start the sixth.  Donaldson had an infield single that Odor got a glove on, but couldn't make a play on, and then Bautista singled, with Donaldson advancing to third, setting up runners at first and third with no one out.  That was it for Perez.
  • But with a close game in the sixth inning, Jeff Banister didn't go to the usual bullpen guys.  Instead, he opted for Chi Chi, the long man.  Gonzalez walked Encarnacion to load the bases, then fell behind to Colabello, prompting Ross Ohlendorf to start warming (which led me to wonder why Ohlendorf didn't come into the game in the first place).  Colabello hit into a quick 3-2-3 GIDP, putting runners on second and third with two outs, a 2-0 deficit, and Troy Tulowitzki coming up.
  • The Rangers let Chi Chi pitch to Tulowitzki, and I think that was the right move.  I said at the time on Twitter that I thought walking Tulowitzki would be a mistake.  Tulowitzki is a better hitter than Navarro, due next, but walking him erases your margin of error with a rookie who has had some control issues on the mound, and I suspect Navarro's expected OBP is at least as good as Tulowitzki's expected batting average in that situation.  Tulowitzki has also been struggling and may not be healthy, but even that aside, I think you take your chances pitching to Tulowitzki.
  • Chi Chi got down 3-1, and it looked like he was just going to pitch around Tulowitzki.  He then got a strike to make it 3-2...and then delivered about as hittable a pitch as you'll see.  I believe it was a changeup that was left up in the strike zone...whatever it was, Tulowitzki smoked it into the left field bleachers, making it 5-0.  And that, for all intents and purposes, was the ballgame.  Chi Chi stayed in and started the 7th, getting lifted for Ohlendorf with two outs in the 7th, and Ohlendorf took it through the 8th, with Shawn Tolleson pitching the top of the 9th.  The relievers did their job, other than that one Chi Chi homer.
  • But the bats were so useless today, it really didn't matter...even if Chi Chi had gotten Tulowitzki to strike out, it wouldn't have mattered, because Texas only scored one run.  And its kind of a miracle that scored that one.
  • Texas picked up 5 hits and 0 walks on the day, being shut down once again by Marco Estrada, the young Toronto righty who has vexed the Rangers with his changeup.  The closest thing to a rally the offense mustered was in the 7th, when with one out, Elvis Andrus and Josh Hamilton had back to back singles, and Hamilton went to second when Jose Bautista bobbled the ball.  Elvis scored on an Odor 6-3, then Robinson Chirinos fanned, and that was that.
  • Prince Fielder, Mitch Moreland and Shin-Soo Choo went a combined 0 for 12, and have an aggregate total of 2 hits in the series.  Especially with Adrian Beltre ailing, the Rangers really need more from the middle of the order.
  • Short turnaround, as the Rangers try against tomorrow at 3 p.m.  R.A. Dickey is scheduled to start, but don't be surprised if we see David Price, instead, on short rest.  Derek Holland goes for Texas.