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Thoughts on a 7-6 Rangers win

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Rangers 7, A's 6

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Rangers 7, A's 6

  • Thank goodness this wasn't a West Coast game, or I'd be up until 3 a.m. writing this.  Hell, I'd be up until 3 a.m. just thinking about this game.
  • This was a ridiculous, crazy, frustrating, maddening, ultimately very happy and joyful game.  When people say they don't like baseball because its boring or dull or they just don't get it, this is one of those games they should experience.
  • It didn't start off that way, of course.  Martin Perez had a game that seemed to epitomize his 2016 season.  Single and double play to start the first, and then a routine grounder to Elvis to end the inning...and instead, Elvis threw wide to first base.  And of course, Danny Valencia, the next batter, took Perez out to center field, making it a 2-0 game just like that.
  • A 1-2-3 second was followed in the third by a leadoff double from Jed Lowrie that was well hit, but maybe could have been, arguably should have been, caught by Ian Desmond in center, but wasn't.  It was followed by a couple of groundballs, and it looked like everything would be fine...and then, Valencia doubled, Khris Davis doubled, Billy Butler doubled, and Oakland had 5 runs on the board and it was another bad Martin Perez start.
  • To his credit, Perez settled down...he gave up a regular single and an infield single to start the fourth, got a double play, and escaped the inning unscathed, had a 1-2-3 fifth, and got a double play in the sixth after a leadoff single to give him another 1-2-3 inning.  Remarkably, Perez qualified for a Quality Start, due to the two runs on the Valencia home run being unearned...his final line was 6 IP, 9 hits, 3 Ks, and 1 walk, and he needed just 84 pitches to get through six.
  • It was, as I said above, a typical 2016 Perez outing.  Jeff Banister said after the game Perez couldn't find an out pitch today, but that's been the case most of the season.  Perez's changeup, the pitch that had scouts swooning when he was a teenager, hasn't been the same since his Tommy John surgery, and his breaking ball has been inconsistent, which means he's throwing 93 mph sinkers without a reliable offspeed pitch to get swings and misses.  Banister noted that Perez was either missing down and glove side on his breaking ball, or was leaving it out over the plate to get smoked.
  • Perez was victimized by a couple of bad defensive plays today, but he also had some really good defense behind him -- Mitch Moreland, in particular, had a couple of great plays -- and some double play balls.  But until he improves his command and gets his offspeed stuff back on track, he's going to be a guy who needs sterling defense behind him to get good results, and who may not get good results even with sterling defense.
  • In any case, Matt Bush pitched two innings and allowed an unearned run, the result of Delino DeShields booting a single to start the seventh inning, allowing the runner to go to second and eventually score, an error and run that seemed like it may be very costly until, at the last moment, it wasn't very costly.
  • So yeah, Adrian Beltre, y'all.  He's awesome.
  • Well, wait, let's back up...some guy named Mengden was pitching for Oakland today.  He has one of these retro, Ross Ohlendorf-esque, WWI-era windups, so I'm not learning his name, because, as I noted on Twitter, he should have some dead ball era nickname like "Three Finger Mengden" or "Rube Mengden."  Anyway, the knock on him is that his second and third time through the order, hitters pick up on him.
  • Ian Desmond picked up on him from the beginning, going deep in the first to cut the lead in half and make it 2-1.  The second and third, however, Texas went quietly, and going into the bottom of the fourth there was a 5-1 deficit, and Houston was leading the Yankees, and everyone was getting all mopey and emo about everything.  But the fourth saw some signs of life...Beltre singled, Elvis drew a one out walk, and with two outs, Bobby Wilson had a bloop double that brought home Beltre.  DeShields struck out to end the inning and strand the runners, but at least there was a flicker of life, which was good to see.
  • On to the fifth, and Jurickson Profar singled to lead off the inning, followed by a Nomar Mazara walk.  A Desmond K and a Beltre ground out put runners on second and third with two outs for Rougned Odor, who laced a single to right, bringing home a pair.  Elvis then walked, putting two on with two outs for Mitch Moreland, who hit a grounder that looked like it might get through, and then was stopped by the second baseman but who maybe wasn't going to be able to get Moreland because the first baseman moved to make a play on the ball...but that Rzzcp guy, that lefty with the long name, just beat Moreland to the bag for the final out.
  • As a side note, even though it was the fifth, it was a pretty critical at bat, and with the A's bringing in their lefty specialist to face Moreland, I'd have liked to have seen Ryan Rua hit there.  Oh well.
  • The sixth was uneventful, and the seventh featured the A's striking out three batters, but with Adrian Beltre hitting a home run to draw the Rangers back within one, which, as it turned out, would be important.  Eighth inning was noteworthy mainly because Bobby Wilson was lifted for pinch hitter Jared Hoying...both because Banny pulled his starting catcher in the eighth for a pinch hitter, and because Hoying was apparently the best available pinch hitting option.
  • Which led to the ninth, with Texas down a run, and Ryan Madson on the mound.  Profar grounded out.  Mazara singled, and Rua pinch ran for him, since that's apparently Rua's role now, to be a pinch runner.  Desmond struck out, leaving Beltre as the Rangers' final hope...and Adrian Beltre did an Adrian Beltre thing. driving the ball over the fence and into the bullpen for a home run, resulting in much celebration and happiness.
  • Oh, and the Astros lost, so the Rangers are now up 3.5 games in the West.
  • It was a remarkable, amazing game, and your periodic reminder that Adrian Beltre is wonderful...if you don't like Adrian Beltre, you don't like baseball.