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Thoughts on a 3-2 Rangers loss

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ChiSox 3, Rangers 2

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

ChiSox 3, Rangers 2

  • Well, that was annoying.
  • Really, that was a generally irksome game.  For the second straight day, the Rangers had a winnable game against Chicago that they didn't win.  Now, all things considered, going 4-3 over the past week, under the circumstances and given the opposing pitchers, is something I think we all are happy to take.  But still, it doesn't feel good to have these past couple of games slip away.
  • Yovani Gallardo didn't allow any runs, but he struggled with his command throughout the game, and needed 98 pitches to get through 20 batters over 5 innings.
  • That's almost 5 pitches per batter.  I thought, surely that couldn't have happened that often...but going to B-R's play index, it (meaning 98+ pitches to face 20 or fewer batters over 5 IP) has happened 105 times over the period they have pitch count data, which is the early 90s.  Interestingly, this is only the 16th time a pitcher has allowed 0 runs while facing 20 or fewer batters over 5 IP while needing 98+ pitches, and only one pitcher has done it twice:  Yovani Gallardo, who also did it against Pittsburgh in 2010.  Gallardo also had a game where he gave up 2 runs while needing 98 pitches while facing 20 batters in 2012.
  • Gallardo was clearly struggling with his command today, and 98 pitches in 5 IP is a heavy load, so I wasn't surprised he was lifted after 5.  However, I thought he might be left in to face righty-swinging Jose Abreu, before going to the pen for a lefty for Adam LaRoche.  Instead, Jeff Banister brought in Ross Detwiler, who pitched well yesterday, and pitched less-well today.  Jose Abreu singled off of Detwiler, and then, after LaRoche fanned, Melky Cabrera singled.  With runners on first and second and one out, Detwiler got Alexei Ramirez to hit a weak bloop the other way, but it had just enough length to fall out of the reach of Mitch Moreland, brining home Abreu and sending Melky Cabrera to third.  Conor Gillaspie's sacrifice fly then brought Cabrera home, giving Chicago a 2-1 lead.
  • I go back and forth about the decision to bring in Detwiler when Banister did.  On the one hand, it seems like he could have left Gallardo in to face Abreu, before bringing in Detwiler to deal with the lefty.  On the other hand, Gallardo was struggling, and it may have been asking for trouble to send him back out to face a guy who can send a mistake over the fence.  Of course, Detwiler pitched 2 innings yesterday, and this was only the third time in his major league career he'd been asked to pitch on back-to-back nights...maybe Sam Freeman or Alex Claudio should have gotten the nod instead of Detwiler.  On the other hand, Detwiler pitched well yesterday, and if he's in the pen, you should expect to get to use him in back-to-back situations.  And you could dismiss the Gillaspie hit as a fluke bloop that wasn't Detwiler's fault, but that doesn't excuse him giving up a pair of hard hit singles to put himself in that situation.
  • So I don't know.  That's part of the problem with having only a couple of guys in the bullpen you trust.  Any move is playing with fire.
  • The rest of the pen did okay.  Jon Edwards fanned Tyler Flowers to escape the 7th.  Keone Kela threw 13 strikes against just 2 balls while retiring all four batters he faced, two of them on strikes.  Sam Freeman struck out the lefty he faced and then allowed a single to Cabrera before being lifted for Tanner Scheppers, who threw 1.1 scoreless innings.  And then Alex Claudio pitched a scoreless tenth, striking out a pair of batters, making you feel okay about him until he gave up a home run to Gordon Beckham in the bottom of the 11th that ended the game in walkoff fashion.
  • Of course, if you're mad that your pitchers gave up 3 runs in an extra inning game, your anger is probably misplaced.  The offense scored two runs, one on a Ryan Rua first inning home run and one on a Leonys Martin seventh inning home run.  Otherwise, the bats failed repeatedly.  The Rangers hitters had eight hits and five walks, though the walk total is misleading since four of them were intentional -- Prince Fielder drew the only unintentional walk the ChiSox pitchers issued.  Ranger hitters were 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position.  Prince was stranded at third in both the first and the fourth inning.  The Rangers had runners on second and third and one out in the fifth, had the runner at third thrown out at home on a fielder's choice, then had Chicago gift the Rangers a baserunner by walking Prince intentionally to load the bases with two outs, only to see Mitch Moreland pop out to end the inning.
  • It was in extra innings when things really got maddening, though.  After Shin-Soo Choo struck out to start the 10th, Rougned Odor, pinch hitting for Ryan Rua, singled to center, then advanced to third base on a wild pitch.  Fielder was intentionally walked again to bring Mitch Moreland to the plate, and Moreland rolled over on a ball on the outside part of the plate, hitting into a 4-6-3 inning-ending double play.
  • Then in the 11th, it was even worse.  Adam Rosales doubled, leading Chicago to walk Joey Gallo intentionally.  Robinson Chirinos sac bunted the runners over, promptly the ChiSox to walk Leonys intentionally.  And once again, the Rangers hit into an inning-ending double play, this time it being Hanser Alberto who went 5-2-3.
  • The game also highlighted the problems the Rangers have when going up against lefthanded pitchers.  Choo and Moreland, who both have a track record of not hitting lefties, are hitting first and fourth against LHPs.  Joey Gallo has struggled against lefties, and is hitting 6th against them.  Texas's righthanded weapons today were Ryan Rua in the #2 spot, Adam Rosales in the #5 spot, Robinson Chirinos, and Hanser Alberto.  Rua can hit, both those other guys aren't in the game for their offensive prowess.  The bats were pretty motley all the way around...only Leonys, who has been slumping, had more than one hit.  Chirinos, Moreland and Alberto came to the plate 15 times, and they accounted for 0 hits, 0 walks and 17 outs.
  • Oh, well.  The Rangers are off tomorrow, can hopefully get recombobulated, and (we hope) will start a new winning streak at home this week.