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Thoughts on a 7-1 Rangers win

Rangers 7, D-Backs 1

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers 7, D-Backs 1

  • I didn't have a good feeling about this game in the 5th-6th innings.  Some guy named Chase Anderson was shutting down the Rangers after having given up a pair of doubles in the first, and while Nick Martinez was pitching well, it just felt like one of those games where Martinez would give up a run late, or the bullpen would give up a run or two in the 7th or 8th inning, the bats would be silent, and a winnable game would slip away.
  • And that's what I thought was happening in the 6th inning.  Martinez had been great all game, but after retiring the first two batters in the bottom of the 6th, Mark Trumbo singled, David Peralta got on via a Rougned Odor error, and then Yasmani Tomas loaded the bases with an infield single.  Somebody named "Tuffy Gosewisch" came up to the plate, and it seemed inevitable that someone named "Tuffy Gosewich" would be the one to cost the Rangers this game.  It didn't happen, though, as he grounded to third base, and Adrian Beltre just nipped pinch runner Chad Pennington at second, ending the inning.
  • Of course, in the 7th, it was feeling like we had just delayed the inevitable.  Keone Kela came on to pitch, and went L-5, BB, K, 1B, putting runners at the corners with two outs for one of the best players in baseball, Paul Goldschmidt.  Jeff Banister decided to go to the pen and get Shawn Tolleson -- and who would have thought, a year ago, that we'd be saying, "Thank goodness, Shawn Tolleson is coming into the game" at this stage -- and Tolleson fanned Goldschmidt swinging, to end the inning.
  • While Tolleson came in and pitched the 8th, Banister went to Tanner Scheppers for the 9th with a six run lead.  Banister had said he wanted to get Scheppers into some more low-leverage situations while he works off the rust, and Scheppers had a solid inning of work, allowing a single and walking a batter while throwing 13 of 17 pitches for strikes.
  • Nick Martinez is now sporting an impressive 0.45 ERA, as well as a very nice 3.22 FIP.  Its just three games, but he's looked good so far, and for a team in need of some of the young starting pitchers to step up, Martinez has responded so far this year.
  • The Rangers had basically the same number of baserunners as the D-Backs yesterday -- they just did a much better job of bunching them together.  Two of the first three batters of the game for Texas doubled, providing an early 1-0 lead, and then Anderson shut them down, retiring 20 of the next 22 Ranger hitters (with Elvis Andrus reaching on an error and Adrian Beltre singling being the lone exceptions).  But Martinez matched Anderson, setting the stage for the decisive penultimate inning.
  • The D-Backs turned to Daniel Hudson for the 8th, and after retiring Rougned Odor on a 4-3, things went south for him.  Jake Smolinski reached on an error, Leonys walked, and then Elvis hit a chopper that bounded over Pennington at third base and into left field, giving the Rangers the lead.  A double-steal lead to that Tuffy Gosewisch guy throwing the ball past third base and down the line, allowing Leonys to score, and Prince put a cap on things by hitting his first homer of the year to right field.  The 9th saw Texas add a couple of insurance runs, via a Mitch Moreland pinch hit double, a walk, and a Leonys Martin single, and suddenly, what was a nail-biter turned into a low-leverage situation for Tanner Scheppers to get some work in.
  • The top of the lineup keyed things for the Rangers, with Leonys, Elvis and Fielder each getting a pair of hits.  The other two Rangers hits were the Beltre single Anderson gave up, and the Moreland pinch hit double.  The 4-8 slots went 2 for 20, while the first three spots went 6 for 14 with a walk.
  • Prince Fielder is hitting .386/.435/.509 on the season.  He's not going to keep hitting close to .400 all year, but he's looking much better than he did last year, and as a reminder, he's owed (from the Rangers) just $90M over 5 years beginning in 2016 -- in other words, barely more than what Rick Porcello will be making over 4 years beginning in 2016.  Because the Tigers start kicking in $6M per year on his deal beginning next year, a solid season from Fielder suddenly makes what has been called one of the worst contracts in baseball a pretty palatable contract.
  • And here, admire Prince's bomb: