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Thoughts on a 6-5 Rangers win

Rangers 6, ChiSox 5

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers 6, Chi Sox 5

  • So the Rangers take two of three against the team with the best record in the A.L., despite having to use a bunch of relievers in extra innings on Monday and burn through both long men in a rain-delayed slugfest on Tuesday, and despite their #1 starter having a less than great game on Wednesday.  I will take that.
  • Yesterday's game was bananapants crazy.  Today's game seemed off somehow -- mid-week day games often do -- and contributing to that was uncharacteristically shaky defense from the Rangers, combined with Cole Hamels appearing more mortal than he usually does.  Hamels' own poor defense caused the first Chicago run to score -- in the top of third, Dioner Navarro hit a liner back up the middle that Hamels deflected, and which then bounded away.  Hamels retrieved the ball, but then (unnecessarily, given one of the slowest players in baseball was running) hurried the throw, throwing it away and allowing Navarro to get to second.  Navarro then went to third on a passed ball by catcher Bobby Wilson, but after the next two were retired, it looked like Navarro might be stranded at third.  Austin Jackson, however, singled Navarro in, giving Chicago a 1-0 lead.
  • Chicago put 3 more runs on the board in the top of the fourth, when Hamels suddenly hit a rough spot.  Todd Frazier hit yet another home run against the Rangers to lead off the inning, and then after Melky Cabrera singled, Brett Lawrie hit a home run.  Navarro doubled with one out, putting Hamels in more trouble, but he managed to get out of the inning with no more damage.
  • The defense let Hamels down again in the fifth...after Cabrera singled and Lawrie struck out, Avisail Garcia hit a slow roller to Adrian Beltre.  Beltre charged and threw on the run, and the throw got away from him, pulling Mitch Moreland off the bag and putting two on.  Navarro struck out for what would have been the third out, but with Hamels having to get four outs in the inning, he gave up a hard hit single to someone named Tyler Saladino, bringing home the fifth White Sox run and chasing Hamels from the game.  Tony Barnette came into the game in relief and promptly hit Adam Eaton, loading the bases for Austin Jackson, but Jackson flew out to end the inning.
  • As it turned out, that Saladino RBI single would be the last run the White Sox would score today.  Tom Wilhelmsen pitched a scoreless seventh, working around a leadoff Jose Abreu single, and then Jake Diekman put up a goose egg in the eighth, though he made it more adventurous that you'd have liked.  After retiring the first two hitters he faced, he allowed that Saladino guy to single, then walked Adam Eaton.  With Sam Dyson warming behind him, Diekman continued to grapple with his command before striking out Jackson looking to end the inning.
  • Dyson got the nod in the ninth inning today -- Shawn Tolleson pitched both Monday and Tuesday, and Jeff Banister apparently wanted to give him today off -- and threw a scoreless ninth that included a strike-em-out-throw-em-out double play after he hit Abreu to lead off the inning.  It was Dyson's first save of the season.
  • Hamels had a weird outing...he threw first pitch strikes to only 11 of 27 batters, and threw 111 pitches in all while not making it through six innings.  But he struck out 9 batters while not walking anyone, and if there had been a couple of better throws behind him/by him, he probably would have pitched into the seventh.  It wasn't sharpest Hamels, but it was good enough.
  • The Rangers put three two-run innings on the board today.  The first pair was in the third, when Ryan Rua and Bobby Wilson started the inning with singles, then a Rougned Odor fielder's choice put runners on first and third.  Odor stole second ahead of an Ian Desmond single that brought Rua home, with Nomar Mazara following that up with a sac fly to bring home Odor.
  • The next pair of runs were the product of back-to-back one out walks by Desmond and Mazara, followed by a Prince Fielder bloop opposite field double that brought both runners home -- the second double of the game for Prince.  The final scoring from the Rangers came in the bottom of the sixth, when Rua led off with a single, stole second, and went to third on a sacrifice by Wilson before being lifted for pinch runner Drew Stubbs.  Odor popped out for the second out, but then Desmond, Mazara and Adrian Beltre had three consecutive singles to bring two runs home and give the Rangers their final 6-5 margin.
  • Ian Desmond continues to do damage, with two hits, two runs, two RBIs and a walk today.  Mazara also had a pair of hits, as well as a walk and a sac fly.  Ryan Rua and Prince Fielder also had two hit games, with Rua performing well again today on the heels of yesterday's big game.
  • Freaky incident that happened today was Todd Frazier diving into the stands after a pop fly, then hopping back out and running immediately to the dugout with his glove over his face.  He said after the game that his face hit the armrest of one of the seats in the front row and bashed his lip into his teeth, opening up a wound that needed five stitches to close up.  The way he reacted, I was sure he'd lost teeth, so I guess five lip stitches isn't quite so bad in comparison.
  • It appears the scouting report for the Rangers was to run on the Mat Latos/Dioner Navarro combination.  Texas was aggressive on the bases, stealing second four times without anyone being thrown out, and with two of the attempted steals not even eliciting a throw to second.  The Rangers aren't running a ton, but they are being selectively aggressive.
  • Banister passed on the opportunity to challenge what I thought was a blown call in the first inning.  Nomar Mazara singled and advanced to second, seemingly beating the throw, but was called out.  The replay showed that Mazara beat the tag, then came off the bag before getting back on it.  To me, it appeared that the tag didn't get on him while he was off the bag, but the video folks for the Rangers didn't agree (or else didn't want to burn their challenge at that point).
  • Seattle also won, alas, so the Rangers are still a game and a half back, but that's fine...its early May, and a small deficit is no big deal right now.  Texas will get the day off tomorrow, let their bullpen arms rest, and will kick off a three game series against the Jays on Friday.