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Thoughts on a 2-0 Rangers win

Rangers 2, Orioles 0

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers 2, Orioles 0

  • Yovani Gallardo.  He just keeps doing what he's doing, even when it seems like he shouldn't be doing it.
  • Take today, for example.  Gallardo needed 94 pitches to get through 6 innings.  He only threw 48 strikes, against 46 balls.  He only got 6 swinging strikes, and fanned just 2 batters, against 3 walks.  He didn't even get that many ground balls -- just five ground ball outs, against nine fly outs.  And yet, he allowed just 2 hits, didn't allow any runs, and is now sporting a spiffy 2.56 ERA.
  • You remember how Jason Frasor had a few bad outings early in 2013, fell out of the Ron Washington Tree of Trust, and was pretty much written off as a failed bit before April was up?  And then, quietly, we looked up halfway through the season and realized he was pitching well?  That's Sam Freeman right now.  Over the last month or so, he's faced 42 batters and allowed just 8 hits and 3 walks.  Freeman faced five batters today, retired four of them, and then gave up a 3-2 single to David Lough with one out in the 8th.  Lough, incidentally, had two of the Orioles' three hits today.
  • Keona Kela came in for Freeman after the Lough single.  He was appearing in his 38th game of the season this year, and for the third time in four days, and I was concerned about his usage and whether he should be in the game and whether he was being run down.  And then Kela got a GIDP on the only pitch he threw, getting out of the inning.
  • Shawn Tolleson pitched the ninth, and appeared to be in danger of walking Jimmy Paredes to start the 9th before getting him to line out to Leonys on a 3-2 pitch.  Adam Jones was then caught looking on a ball that, well, let's just say if there were robot umps, it would probably be called a ball.  And Chris Davis then flew out to the warning track in left to end the game, and give Tolleson his 12th save.
  • So, Rougned Odor was kind of the story of the Rangers ninth.  He made an error in the 1st inning on a tailor-made double play ball that put runners on first and third with one out (though Chris Davis followed that up with a line drive that ended up being a U3 DP).  Then in the 6th, in a scoreless game, he blasted a leadoff double to center field, only to be thrown out at third trying to stretch it into a triple.  Redemption came in the 9th, though, when Odor smoked a single into right field, bringing home an insurance run.
  • The funny thing about the Odor single in the 9th, incidentally, is that if there were robot umps, it wouldn't have happened.  Odor took a pitch that should have been ball four, but which was called a strike.  The next pitch was the single.  So by blowing the call, the umpire ended up helping the Rangers score their insurance run.
  • There was some questioning on Twitter of Buck Showalter's strategy in the 9th, when Texas scored both of their runs.  Most managers use their closer in the top of the 9th inning at home, since there isn't going to be a save situation.  Instead of using closer Zach Britton, however, Buck stuck with Chaz Roe.  Roe walked Shin-Soo Choo, Elvis Andrus sac-bunted him to second, and then Leonys Martin -- who, you know doubt are aware, is mired in a deep slump -- lined a single back up the middle to score Choo, scoring on the Odor single two batters later.
  • Although it backfired, I think Buck made the right move.  Britton had pitched in the previous two games, and is a lefthander.  With the bottom of the order up, I think Buck decided it made more sense to use Roe against the soft underbelly of the Ranger batting order, hopefully avoiding needing to use Britton at all (if the Orioles win it in the 9th), and alternatively, using Britton against the lefty-heavy top of the Ranger order in the 10th.  Its a sound strategy, but it didn't work tonight.
  • As far as the bats go, just 7 hits for the Rangers today.  Prince Fielder had a pair of opposite field singles, a walk, and initially had an infield single for a third hit, only to see it reversed when Baltimore challenged the call (and the replay showed Prince was clearly out).  Odor also had a pair of hits, Leonys had a single and a walk, and Josh Hamilton and Mitch Moreland each had a hit.
  • That was a 4-3 road trip for the Rangers, who hit the halfway mark of the season with tomorrow's game.  They are guaranteed to be above .500 for the first half of the season.  I'll take that.