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Thoughts on a 7-4 Rangers win

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Rangers 7, BoSox 4

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Rangers 7, BoSox 4

  • That was a weird, fascinating game.
  • Yovani Gallardo gave up 2 runs (1 earned) in 6 IP today, although he probably wouldn't have allowed any if he hadn't yacked a potential double play ball.  With two on and no one out in the top of the fourth, Gallardo got Brock Holt to hit a comebacker that should have been an easy GIDP.  Gallardo threw a one-hopper to second base, though, and Hanser Alberto couldn't make the scoop, and instead of a runner on third and two outs, the bases were loaded with no one out.  A sac fly and a single brought a pair of runs in before Rusney Castillo hit into a GIDP that wasn't botched to end the inning.
  • Gallardo's night wasn't particularly memorable, other than the bad throw and him yelling on the mound afterwards.  His ERA is down to 3.88 on the season.  There was some hope that Gallardo might, post-trade, regain the mojo he had earlier in his career when he was looking like he might be a legit #2 starter.  Instead, he seems like your generic solid righty, interchangeable with the Kyle Lohses and Brandon Bronson Arroyos and Aaron Harangs of years previous.  He pitched much of his career in Milwaukee, which seems about right, and he feels like the type of pitcher who ends up in Cincinnati or Minnesota at some point.
  • Jon Edwards pitched an inning, didn't allow a run, but continued to struggle with his command.  8 of 15 pitches thrown by Edwards were balls, he walked the first batter he faced, and he fell behind the next batter 2-0 before throwing a couple of sliders for strikes and then getting Rusney Castillo to ground into a double play.  He fanned Dustin Pedroia to end the inning, but if he's going to stick in the big league bullpen, he's going to have to do a better job commanding his fastball.
  • Ross Ohlendorf pitched the 8th, allowed a 2 run home run to let the BoSox creep back to within a run.  Realistically, Ross Ohlendorf is not a long-term solution in the 8th inning.  I feel like the Rangers are waiting for either Tanner Scheppers or Keone Kela to get into a groove where one of them is the primary setup guy.
  • Oh, and ho-hum, Shawn Tolleson pitched a 12 inning pitch perfect 9th for his 6th save.  Of course.
  • All that pitching nonsense above -- we can forget about that, really.  The star of the show tonight was Josh Hamilton, with a little Hanser Alberto thrown in.  Hamilton had a pair of solo homers off of knuckleballer Steven Wright, the first of which gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead, the second of which was immediately after Boston scored its two runs off of Gallardo which had tied up the game, and thus gave the Rangers a 3-2 lead. That looked like the Hamilton of old
  • Hamilton also drew a walk after getting down 0-2 against lefty Craig Breslow in the 8th, with two outs and no one on.  That didn't look like the Hamilton of old -- it feels like Hamilton of old would have closed his eyes, guessed, and flailed on the third pitch, and ended up trudging back to the dugout, hopefully without having hurled his bat into the stands.  That was a key at bat, too, because Mitch Moreland followed it up with a single, and then Robinson Chirinos doubled, and the Rangers took back the two runs Ohlendorf had given up in the top of the inning, and claimed a three run lead again.
  • Hanser Alberto appeared in his first major league game today, getting his first major league start and picking up his first major league hit, a triple.  Pretty cool.  Alberto may end up back in Round Rock as soon as tomorrow, when the Rangers have to send someone down to make room for Chi Chi Gonzalez, but it was a memorable debut for Alberto.
  • Prince Fielder had a fascinating sequence of at bats against Wright.  In his first two plate appearances, Fielder grounded out on 1-3 plays.  In his third at bat, with Shin-Soo Choo on first, he got down 0-2, and then fouled off multiple pitches.  Throughout the at bat, it was as if he was flicking at the ball, trying to go the opposite way to beat the shift.  Finally, he hit a looping liner down the third base line, away from the shift and into left field for a single.  It was as if he'd decided he wasn't going to pound the knuckleball, he was just going to slap it the other way.  And it worked.
  • Prince got another hit in the 8th, and as is de riguer of late, was lifted for a pinch runner, Delino DeShields.  DeShields was promptly erased when Adrian Beltre hit into a double play.  Still, with a one run lead in the bottom of the 8th, I think going to DeShields isn't unreasonable in that situation.  The difference between a one run lead heading into the 9th, and a two run lead heading into the 9th, is pretty big.
  • Mitch Moreland got picked off at second base by Alexi Ogando in the 7th, and the immediate reaction on Twitter was, what was Moreland doing so far off of second base?  But it looked to me like the Rangers were having Robinson Chirinos, who was at the plate, bunt.  If you're a slow runner at second and you're being bunted to third, you need to get a good lead so that you'll be able to make it to third without being thrown out if the bunt is put down.  Moreland appeared to be trying to get that extra step or two to try to ensure he wouldn't be thrown out on a bunt attempt, and instead, got himself picked off.  So if you want, you can blame that one on bunting.
  • That pick off was one of two outs recorded by Ogando.  He faced four batters, and retired just one, giving up a single, a double and a triple in the process.
  • Every Ranger starter got either a walk or a hit except for Beltre, and Leonys, Moreland, Fielder, Hamilton, and Chirinos all had two hit nights.  Really, it was a pretty good night for the offense.
  • Boston scored in two different innings tonight.  In the bottom half of each of those innings, the Rangers answered, once with a run to take back the lead, once with two runs.
  • This Boston team does not look like a team that is a Cole Hamels away from being a World Series contender.  Maybe they turn it on here and get hot and take over the East, but right now, they seem like a team that should be pleased if they win 84 games this year.
  • Mike Napoli struck out looking against Ross Ohlendorf in the 8th, and then got ejected for running his mouth while going back to the bench.  This then was followed up by John Farrell running out of the dugout, and getting ejected.  There had been a lot of complaining from the Red Sox about the strike zone all day, and this was seemingly the last straw.
  • It reminds me of a story I remember reading long ago, by a former umpire, I don't remember who.  He said that when a team's bench is riding you, sometimes you have to throw someone out to make a point, but you don't want to hurt the team by throwing out someone meaningful.  So on this particular day, the umpire said the one team was yelling and bellyaching and haranguing him all game long, and so finally, knowing that yesterday's starting pitcher -- let's call him Lonnie Johnson -- wasn't going to pitch in this game, having heard enough, he gestured vaguely towards the dugout and said, "Johnson, I've heard enough, you're outta here."  The manager comes out and says, "You just ejected Johnson?"  The umpire said, "Yeah, what about it?"  Manager says, "Well, you're going to have to yell a little louder to let him know, because we sent him down to the PCL yesterday."
  • Chi Chi makes his first major league start tomorrow.  I'm hyped.
  • Check out Josh Hamilton's first homer of 2015: