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Thoughts on a 5-4 Rangers win

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Rangers 5, A's 4

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers 5, A's 4

  • I'm still trying to wrap my head around what happened last night.  That was nuts.
  • Lucas Harrell got the start and, at a time when it was thought he might be pitching for his rotation spot, was immediately awful, and then left the game with a groin strain after two innings.  The good news is that, even though he gave up three hits and walked four batters in his two innings of work, he only gave up one run.  That said, Harrell appears destined for the disabled list, and I'd assume he's made his last start for the Rangers this year.
  • Alex Claudio, who is both the second lefty in the pen and the de facto long man, entered the game in the third and was...really, really good.  And he's been good for a while, despite being a punching bag of sorts for Rangers fans who seem convinced from every Ranger fan pore he's useless.  But in last night's game he threw four scoreless innings, giving up just two hits and a walk, and doing a masterful job keeping the Rangers in the game and also keeping the bullpen from being destroyed after the short Harrell outing.
  • Jake Diekman pitched the seventh and didn't allow a run while striking out two.  Jeremy Jeffress pitched the eighth and didn't allow a run while walking two.  And then Sam Dyson pitched the ninth.
  • I've been a Dyson skeptic for a while, but this appeared to be bad luck as much as anything else.  Coming in to protect a 2-1 lead,  after a strikeout to start the inning, Dyson got Max Muncy to hit a slow roller to second.  Rougned Odor scooped and shoveled a throw with his glove to Mitch Moreland at first, but Mitch couldn't handle it, and it went for an infield single.  Coco Crisp then struck out looking, but the runner was going on a 3-2 pitch, and successfully stole second.  Danny Valencia then singled home the tying run, and was followed up by a Stephen Vogt single, making us more nervous, before Dyson got a final strikeout to end the inning.
  • Dyson has had issues missing bats of late, but he had three strikeouts yesterday -- more than he has had in his previous 12 outings combined.
  • Then Keone Kela pitched the tenth, tied at 2, and it went badly.  He appeared to get Billy Eibner looking on a 2-2 pitch leading off the inning, but Joe West called it a ball, and then Eibner walked.  Yonder Alonso doubled him home, and then after a Marcus Simien strike out, a single brought Alonso home.  That was followed up with an infield single and a Rougned Odor error, loading the bases and making a catastrophe seem imminent, but Kela struck out the final two batters to escape with just two runs scoring.
  • So yes, both Dyson and Kela struck out the side in their innings, where Oakland tied the game and then took the lead.
  • The bats were silent for much of the night, with one run scoring in the sixth on a Carlos Beltran single, and one in the seventh on an Elvis Andrus sac fly.  So when the tenth inning rolled around, there was optimism oozing out of every Ranger fan pore.  But after Nomar Mazara struck out to start the inning, Robinson Chirinos drew a walk.  And then Jonathan Lucroy, pinch hitting for Drew Stubbs, drew a walk.  Then Ian Desmond drew a walk.  John Axford then grooved a first pitch strike to Carlos Beltran, who lined a single into center, bringing home two runs and putting runners at first and second for Adrian Beltre.
  • Bob Melvin went to the bullpen at that point and brought in Marc Rz...that long named pitcher.  And bafflingly, he intentionally walked Beltre, loading the bases for Rougned Odor.  It was a terrible decision, one that he justified after the game by saying Adrian Beltre had beaten them too many times and he didn't want it to happen again, but...man, what a bad decision.  Beltre hits into lots of double plays.  A single might not even score the runner from second.  And loading the bases means a walk or HBP ends the game.
  • And sure enough, first pitch to Odor hit him.  And that was the ballgame, on a walk off HBP.  Incredible.
  • Oh, and to top it all off...Seattle, who led much of their game against the Angels, blew the lead and ended up losing.  So Texas is now 6.5 games up in the West.
  • Just one more weird win in a weird season.