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Thoughts on a 4-2 Rangers win

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Rangers 4, Angels 2

Rick Yeatts/Getty Images

Rangers 4, Angels 2

  • Colby Lewis, guys.  A weirdly Colby Lewis outing tonight.  Colby is the first pitcher since Rick Porcello (7/1/14) to go at least 7 IP while not walking anyone or striking out anyone.  Colby gave up 9 hits, including the obligatory solo home run, but just two runs crossed the plate.  Colby needed just 80 pitches to go 7 innings, throwing first pitch strikes to 21 of the 28 batters he faced.  He had his solid command today, threw strikes and let his defense do work.
  • Colby generated a pair of double plays, and also got the benefit of a replay challenge in the sixth.  Albert Pujols started the sixth inning with an infield single, and then advanced to second on a single to shallow center.  When Ian Desmond threw in back to second, the Rangers challenged the play, saying that Pujols was off the bag momentarily while being tagged.  The replay said yes, Pujols was off the bag, and the Rangers ended up benefiting from one of those calls I've complained about, where the runner is off momentarily in a way that has to be determined via replay.
  • In any case, that squashed a potential rally, as Anaheim went from 2 on, no one out to one on, one out, and when the next two batters went down, that was it as far as that rally went.
  • Sam Dyson and Shawn Tolleson pitched the 8th and 9th, and while Dyson allowed a Mike Trout double, that was the only baserunner.  Dyson lowered his ERA to 2.70, and Tolleson lowered his ERA to 6.00.
  • Colby, meanwhile, dropped his ERA on the season to 3.19.  He has that ERA with a FIP and xFIP that is above 5.  While Colby has allowed 7 home runs this year in 31 IP, he's only allowed 11 runs, total -- basically, he's not allowing baserunners to score.  Yes, that sort of thing isn't sustainable, but I'm going to enjoy what Colby is doing right now as long as he can keep it going.  Rooting for Colby Lewis makes baseball more fun, and watching him do well makes me happy.
  • Through five innings, it was looking like Colby's strong effort might be for naught.  The Rangers weren't doing much against Anaheim starter Hector Santiago, and the only run of the game was from a fifth inning home run by Ryan Rua.  In the sixth inning, it looked like the Rangers might be squandering another opportunity, when they put two on to start then inning, only to see Adrian Beltre hit into a double play, bringing up Prince Fielder.
  • I've been critical of Fielder's performance this year, but I will give him this...somehow, some way, he seems to be able to get runners home.  With two outs and a runner on third in the sixth inning tonight, down by a run, Prince singled into right field, tying up the game, and bringing Ian Desmond to the plate.  With Desmond coming up, I wondered whether Jeff Banister should go with a pinch runner...Delino DeShields was on the bench, and it seemed like an opportune time to go to him.  But Prince stayed in the game...a decision that I feared was costly when Desmond shot a ball down the left field line and into the corner.  It was a ball that most runners would score on, but I was sure that Prince would be held at third.
  • But nope...Prince was sent, and chugging around third and heading home, the relay from Andrelton Simmons was offline, allowing Prince to score with the go-ahead run.  Mitch Moreland then singled home Desmond with an insurance run, what ended up being the final run of the game.
  • Every Ranger had either a hit or a walk today, except for Bryan Holaday, who was 0 for 3.  Desmond and Moreland each had two hit nights, with Moreland's performance especially noteworthy since he got the start against a lefty.
  • Adrian Beltre had a weird night...along with hitting into the double play in the sixth, he was part of a play that ended the Rangers' eighth.  Beltre walked to start the eighth, and after a Prince foul out, Desmond hit a hard fly ball into left field.  Left fielder Rafael Ortega tracked it down, and then threw into the infield...which would be no big deal, except Beltre had apparently been running until the ball was caught, and hadn't made it back to first yet.  Simmons threw back behind Beltre, and the throw beat him back to the bag, resulting in Beltre getting doubled off to end the inning.
  • Numerous folks on Twitter suggested that Elvis should go stare at Beltre over that baserunning mistake.
  • As noted above, DeShields was on the bench today.  Ryan Rua started, as one would expect with a lefty on the mound, but he started in place of DeShields, rather than Moreland, with Desmond moving to center field.  With Shin-Soo Choo and Josh Hamilton back, I'm wondering if we are seeing a potential shift in roles as DeShields struggles to pull out of a 2 for 30 slump.  Desmond appears, to my untrained eye, to be a viable option as a defender in center field, and if he can man center on a regular basis, it could push DeShields into a job-sharing role in left field once Hamilton, who is starting a rehab assignment tomorrow with Frisco, returns.
  • Texas is now 13-10 on the year, and still is in first place.  Things are much better now than they were a year ago.