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Thoughts on a 2-1 Rangers win

Rangers 2, Blue Jays 1

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers 2, Blue Jays 1

  • That was an exciting game, man.
  • Even moreso because the Rangers won.  Had the Rangers lost, I probably would be less enthused about it.  But man, that was a good game.
  • A.J. Griffin continued his improbable resurgence.  After missing the past two seasons with Tommy John surgery, the Rangers signed Griffin to a minor league deal, and I viewed him as a pretty solid reclamation project who they could stash in AAA, letting him work his way back into form while possibly providing a depth option during the summer.  Instead, he won the fifth starter job out of spring training, and has been arguably the team's best starter so far this year.
  • Griffin today:  6 IP, 3 hits, 2 walks, 9 Ks, 1 run allowed, numerous frustrated Jays who flailed at high-80s heat up in the zone and curveballs that were below the speed limit on Texas interstates.  The talk about the Rangers' lack of starting pitching depth, and the need to go trade for someone or sign Tim Lincecum or something, has given way to "should Texas use a 6 man rotation when Yu Darvish returns?" talk.
  • Other than in the third, when Kevin Pillar doubled to lead off the inning, and ended up scoring on a Michael Saunders single, the Jays didn't get a runner beyond first base against Griffin.
  • Tony Barnette, who picked up the win for Texas, pitched the 7th, and did allow a runner to reach second, and once again, it was Pillar, who got to second after a wild pitch with two outs.  No damage done, though.
  • Sam Dyson, the guy who gave up the massive bat-flip Bautista home run in the playoffs last year, came in to pitch the 8th, and it looked like there would be trouble.  A Saunders walk and a Josh Donaldson single put runners on first and second with no one out, and after a Jose Bautista fly out to right, Edwin Encarnacion walked to load the bases with one out.  Troy Tulowitzki hit a fly ball to medium deep right field, and Saunders opted to test Nomar Mazara's arm.  Mazara unleashed a great throw home, Brett Nicholas spun and put the tag on Saunders' chest just before his hand swiped the plate, and although the Jays challenged the play via replay, it was upheld, and Saunders was called out.  A great throw by Mazara, as part of an overall great day for the rookie, who, incidentally, was named A.L. Rookie of the Month for April today.
  • Ninth inning, Shawn Tolleson time, and Smoak led off with a single.  An attempted sac bunt resulted in pinch runner Darwin Barney being thrown out at second, and then Pillar grounded into a fielder's choice, started by a nice play by Elvis.  Russell Martin then grounded to Elvis, who tagged second himself, to end the inning and the game, and give Shawn Tolleson the save.
  • The two Rangers runs scored on solo home runs, one by Brett Nicholas in the third, one by Nomar Mazara in the 8th.  The Mazara home run helped bail out Delino DeShields, whose baserunning snafu cost the Rangers a run in the 7th.  Texas loaded the bases with one out on a pair of singles that had a walk sandwiched in between, and with Mitch Moreland at third, Rougned Odor hit a fly ball to Pillar in center, easily deep enough to score Moreland.  Nicholas, at second, tagged and went to third easily...and for some reason, DeShields opted to try to get to second from first.  DeShields was thrown out fairly easily, and while Moreland was initially ruled to have scored, the replay determined that he hadn't crossed the plate before DeShields was tagged out.  The decision by DeShields to try to advance was even more inexplicable, given that he was thrown out trying to advance to third on a similar play about a week ago, that resulted in a run that looked like it had scored being taken off the board.  DeShields was 2 for 3 today with a walk, but between the baserunning gaffe and a bad read late in the game on a Justin Smoak single that looked like it could have been caught, it ended up being a game you have to think DeShields wants to put behind him.
  • Jeff Banister put Prince Fielder at 1B today, with Mitch Moreland at DH, apparently in an effort to get Prince "engaged."  Prince did lace a ground rule double as part of a 1 for 4 effort, and his OPS is now standing at 575.
  • Brett Nicholas was 1 for 2 with a pair of walks, and while you would tend to think he's likely to be sent down once Chris Gimenez is ready, since he's the one catcher who has options, he's playing well enough that he's at least making it a decision you have to think about.
  • First place Texas Rangers, at least for another day.