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Thoughts on a 3-2 Rangers loss

Astros 3, Rangers 2

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Astros 3, Rangers 2

  • A loss like that makes missing the playoffs this year feel like an inevitability.  I've been holding out hope, slim though it may be...but man, this is a game that feels like a nail in the coffin.
  • And this was Martin Perez's return to major league action, almost 14 months after undergoing Tommy John surgery.  It should be a night of celebrating his triumphant return.  As it is, Perez was okay, exhibiting issues with his command, but ultimately going 5 innings and allowing 3 runs.  He wasn't great, but he was good enough to give the Rangers a chance to win, and just seeing him out there back on the mound in a Ranger uniform felt good.
  • The bullpen was also solid today, with Spencer Patton, Keone Kela and Sam Freeman each throwing a scoreless inning.  Sam Freeman now has a 3.66 ERA on the season.  I know, that surprised me, too.
  • No, the problem today was the bats, and in particular, the fact that the Rangers logged 15 hits but only scored two runs.  The initial reaction was they didn't get the job done with runners in scoring position, but Texas was 2 for 8 in those situations.  That wasn't the problem.
  • One issue was running into outs.  Rougned Odor lined a one out single in the first inning to left field, and was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double.  I didn't think the decision to go for two was inherently bad, but the next three hitters all singled, meaning that the Rangers should have had a run in and one out when Josh Hamilton batted with the bases loaded, rather than no runs and two outs.  And Hamilton's weak grounder would have brought another runner home, which potentially would have given the Rangers a 2-0 lead if Odor stays at first.  Though if he stays at first, who knows what everyone after him does...
  • Four consecutive singles also didn't score any runs in the first because the lead runner in that sequence (after Odor was thrown out) was Prince Fielder, who couldn't advance more than one base at a time, and so wasn't able to score from second on the two out single by Mitch Moreland.
  • Then in the second, Elvis Andrus got on on an infield single, but was erased on a Leonys Martin GIDP.  In the third, Delino DeShields led off with a single, was running when Rougned Odor hit a fly ball to right field, and was doubled off when he didn't realize what was going on and was late returning to first.  In the sixth, Adrian Beltre singled, went to third on a Mitch Moreland single and then scored on an erroneous throw back to the infield, and then Josh Hamilton hit a mile high shot to right field that was caught by Colby Rasmus at the fence.  Two feet more, and the Rangers have a two run homer.
  • That's how this game went.  So many instances where the Rangers were thisclose, but couldn't get a run across.  And other than the first inning, they never had more than two hits in an inning...they got a ton of hits, but didn't string them together, and were mostly playing station-to-station ball.  So, not many runs.
  • Three hit nights for Moreland and Odor.  Two hit nights for Elvis, DeShields, Prince and Beltre.
  • From a big picture standpoint, perhaps the most telling/interesting things from tonight was a decision Jeff Banister made in the 9th inning.  Robinson Chirinos was due up to start the 9th inning, with Texas down a run.  Shin-Soo Choo was available on the bench, and a righthander was on the mound.  Banister pinch hit for Chirinos...but instead of using Choo, Banister went with Tomas Telis, the backup catcher who was just called up from AAA, and was getting his first major league at bat of the season.  Telis fanned on three pitches.
  • When the backup catcher just up from the minors is your choice to pinch hit, instead of your $130 million bat-first outfielder, there's something very wrong.