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Thoughts on a 7-6 Rangers win

Rangers 7, Jays 6

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers 7, Jays 6

  • Well, that was something...
  • There was that brawl, but I've talked about that elsewhere, so we're just going to talk about the game here.
  • The game itself was a pretty remarkable, kind of crazy, rather exciting game, even setting aside the whole fighting thing, and I'm kind of worried that I'm going to end up leaving out half of the good stuff here.
  • First of all, good job, Cesar Ramos.  Ramos, making a spot start in place of A.J. Griffin, and facing one of the most feared lineups in baseball, gave the Rangers a solid effort, under the circumstances.  He didn't make it out of the fifth inning, and needed 94 pitches to get that far, but save for a single second inning run, Ramos kept the Jays off the board.
  • Which isn't to say that Ramos didn't run into problems...the run in the second came when Edwin Encarnacion led off the inning with a double.  After a pair of outs, Michael Saunders singled home Encarnacion, and then Russell Martin singled, putting two on with two outs for Darwin Barney, who flew out to end the inning.
  • Toronto threatened again in the fourth off of Ramos, with Justin Smoak and Troy Tulowitzki each singling to lead off the inning, though the next three Jays were retired in order.
  • The fifth was when Ramos got chased.  Kevin Pillar led off with a double, and then after a Josh Donaldson K, Jose Bautista walked, Pillar and Bautista had a successful double-steal, and then Encarnacion walked.  That led to Andrew Faulkner replacing Ramos, and inducing Smoak to hit into an inning-ending double play.
  • Things went south in the top of the sixth, though, on a variety of levels.  Troy Tulowitzki led off with a single, and then Saunders hit a hard grounder in the hole between first and second.  Rougned Odor made a nice play going to his left, but instead of making the easy play at first base, he tried to spin and make a throw to second.  Instead, he dropped the ball, putting runners on first and second, and leading Jeff Banister to bring in Tom Wilhelmsen.
  • Wilhelmsen's awful start of the season continued, although he had some help pouring gas on the fire.  After Martin hit into a 5-4 fielder's choice, putting runners on first and second, Barney put a bunt down right in front of the plate.  The runner at third was holding, so it looked to be an easy play at first for the out...but Odor, who was shifted well towards the bag, didn't get there in time, and thus with Mitch Moreland charging to field the bunt, there was no one to throw to.  From the replay, it was clear that Odor didn't break towards first when he should have, but at the same time, he was shifted so far over that it isn't clear that he would have been able to get there in time anyway.
  • In any case, with two potential outs given away, the bases were loaded.  Wilhelmsen gave up a hot shot to Pillar, which Elvis Andrus juggled and dropped before throwing to second for the force out.  As with Odor and the bunt, it isn't clear that the Rangers would have gotten the batter at first even if it had been handled cleanly -- Pillar is hard to double up -- but Elvis's drop eliminated that as even a possibility, and made it a 2-2 game.
  • Wilhelmsen then fell apart, walking Josh Donaldson before allowing a bases-clearing double to Bautista, and then hitting Encarnacion before fanning Smoak.  The damage was done, though, and it was 5-2 Jays.
  • Texas got a run back in the bottom of the 6th, but the bullpen gave it right back up in the 7th.  Banister opted to have Wilhelmsen start the 7th, and he responded by giving up a double to Tulowitzki, though on a ball that Ian Desmond didn't play well.  Saunders then singled, followed by a Martin walk, prompting Banister to bring in Matt Bush.  Bases loaded, no one out, close pressure, rook.
  • Bush did as well as could be expected, getting Barney to strike out before allowing a pair of fly balls to Pillar and Donaldson.  Both were caught for outs, but the Pillar fly ball brought home Tulowitzki, making it 6-3.
  • We talked about the 8th in other posts.  There was drama.  You can see the video.  In summary...Bush hit Bautista, Encarnacion flew out, and then Jake Diekman got a grounder from Smoak that was a double play by virtue of Bautista being called for interfering with Odor on an illegal slide at second.
  • Shawn Tolleson was declared unavailable before the game, so Sam Dyson took the mound for the ninth, and had an uneventful 1-2-3 inning, getting three easy grounders to end the game and pick up the save.  Tolleson supposedly was not available because of his heavy workload of late, which allowed Banister to avoid awkward questions about who his closer is right now if (and as it turned out, when) he went with someone else in a save situation.
  • Texas got on the board for the first time in the third inning, when Ryan Rua walked to lead off the inning, stole second, and then went to third on a Bryan Holaday sacrifice bunt.  This was also the time in the game when John Gibbons got ejected for arguing balls and strikes, after Toronto first base coach Tim Lieper had been ejected in the top of the inning for something or other.  Ian Desmond then doubled home Rua after Rougned Odor fanned, though he was thrown out trying to go to third.
  • Rua scored the team's second run as well, in the fifth.  After Elvis Andrus walked with one out, Rua hit into a fielder's choice, leaving him at first for Holaday.  Holaday blasted a double to center to bring Rua home, giving Texas, at that point, a 2-1 lead.
  • Adrian Beltre homered in the bottom of the sixth, after the disastrous Wilhelmsen and defense fueled disaster gave Toronto the lead, but the real fireworks (of the non-brawl variety) came in the bottom of the seventh.  Mitch Moreland led off the inning with a double, which Elvis followed up with a single.  A Rua GIDP brought home a run to make it 6-4, but left the bases empty with two outs.  Holaday walked, and Odor, who had had three Ks up to that point, hit a slow roller to second that he was able to beat out.  Jesse Chavez was brought into the game at that point, in relief of Aaron Sanchez, in order to face Ian Desmond.  Desmond responded with a three run blast to left-center that he punctuated with a bat-flip of his own, giving Texas a 7-6 lead.
  • After all the drama in the top of the 8th, Toronto wasted no time in getting revenge, plunking Prince Fielder, the leadoff batter in the inning.  Benches cleared again, Chavez was ejected, and so was acting manager DeMarlo Hale -- the third Jays manager/coach to be thrown out, matching the three players (Bautista, Donaldson and Chavez) the Jays lost.  Drew Stubbs came into the game for Prince, no runs scored, and things ended with Dyson's ninth.
  • That felt like a game the Jays should have won.  They had 12 hits, 4 walks, 2 HBPs, and a runner reach via an error.  Despite that, they only registered six runs, stranding 11.  Texas, on the other hand, only had 15 baserunners to the Jays' 21, and lost a runner on the basepaths (Desmond, trying to advance to third base), but came out ahead.  When we talk about games that we feel like the Rangers gave away, or that they could have won, but didn't, let's remember this one, as well, which feels like a game Texas stole.
  • It was stolen, in no small part, by Ian Desmond continuing to mash the ball.  2 for 4 with a double, a home run, and 4 RBIs, Desmond is now sporting a 790 OPS, a number that I think none of us thought he'd be putting up right now.  Desmond was a signing that a lot of us -- myself included -- criticized, but right now, it looks brilliant.
  • Meanwhile, Ryan Rua continues to contribute, drawing a pair of walks and scoring two runs, pushing his slash line up to .283/.338/.433.  He's going to move back into a part-time role when Shin-Soo Choo returns next week, but he's showing he can be a useful piece on a winning ballclub.
  • Not a whole lot of other big games, offensively...Nomar Mazara had a couple of hits, Elvis Andrus had a walk and a single.  Everyone in the starting lineup got at least one hit, other than Prince and Rua, who each got on twice via other means.
  • Lost in all the drama, the Mariners lost, and that, combined with the Rangers winning, means that the Rangers are in first place in the A.L. West right now.  Pretty cool, huh?
  • I'm sure there's other stuff that happened that I'm overlooking and that I should mention, but honestly, my brain is kind of fried after all that.