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Thoughts on a 2-1 Rangers win

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Rangers 2, Indians 1

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers 2, Indians 1

  • Coming into the season, I talked about the importance of Martin Perez and Derek Holland to the Ranger rotation.  Cole Hamels is Cole Hamels, Colby Lewis is Colby Lewis, and Yu Darvish is Yu Darvish, though we all knew Yu was going to be out early on this season.  To me, a big part of whether the Ranger season would be a success would depend upon Perez and Holland, and their ability to perform like legitimate MORPs.  Perez I felt fairly confident in, to the point I thought he was poised to establish himself as a legit #3, maybe a weak #2, whereas Holland was the enigma wrapped in a riddle wrapped in a flour tortilla he's been for the past few years.
  • And here we are in late August, and Perez has stayed healthy but been mediocre, with his offspeed stuff -- his changeup in particular -- not being where it was pre-TJS, and Holland has spent another season missing significant time due to injury, in this case, a shoulder injury.  Today was start number two for Holland since coming off the d.l., as he looked to show he is someone who can be relied upon.
  • And Holland had his second straight strong start.  The velocity is still not where it was before all these injuries, coming in at around 91-92 mph, but he commanded his pitches well, threw strikes, and kept the first place Cleveland Indians in check.  The end line for Holland was 6 IP, 5 Ks, 4 hits, 1 run, 0 walks.
  • There is with Holland and Perez something of a curse of high expectations, as both were heralded prospects who were supposed to be the homegrown studs the Rangers have been seeking since...well, pretty much since they arrived in Arlington.  Neither has met those expectations...but that's okay.  If either or both can be a decent back of the rotation starting pitcher, the Rangers will take that.
  • Holland pitched better than a back of the rotation guy today, of course, and one has to hold up hope that the stuff Holland used to have might come back.  Or it may be that after microfracture surgery and two seasons of shoulder injuries simply means that that guy isn't coming back.  Regardless, Holland pitched well today, and has value if he can be something close to this going forward.  Holland finishing the regular season pitching like this makes picking up his 2017 option a no-brainer, and has him in the mix, along with Perez, Lewis and A.J. Griffin, for the two starting rotation spots behind Yu and Cole in the playoffs.
  • The bullpen was asked to protect a one run lead, and it did so, though it was scary at times.  Jake Diekman walked the first batter he faced, fell behind the second batter before generating a GIDP, then gave up a single to Brandon Guyer before getting Abraham Almonte to ground out to end the inning.  Matt Bush pitched a 1-2-3 8th, setting the stage for Sam Dyson to protect a one run lead in the ninth.
  • Ah, Sam Dyson...it will be really interesting to see how Jeff Banister uses him come October.  Dyson took over for Shawn Tolleson as the closer, and has had a heavy workload (as he did since coming over to Texas via trade last year).  He's had some time off and looked sharp his last time out, but today, he had no command, missing repeatedly to the arm side.  After a leadoff single and a strike-'em-out/steal second not-double-player, Dyson walked Carlos Santana maybe sort of while pitching around him, but then loaded the bases by walking Jose Ramirez as well.  Things looked dire, but Dyson, once again, got out of it, retiring Tyler Naquin on strikes, and then getting Almonte to pop up on what was, I believe, a 2-0 pitch.  Inning over, game over, Rangers win the series.
  • On the offensive side, things were rather dull...just five hits on the day, two by Ian Desmond, two by Jonathan Lucroy, with Adrian Beltre picking up the other one.  Three walks and an HBP, but the Rangers didn't have a bunch of opportunities today, and were fortunate that they just needed the two runs to win.
  • Incidentally, since hitting a home run in his first at bat Thursday, Carlos Gomez has been hopeless at the plate, but he made a couple of great catches today which may well have been the difference between winning and losing.  Good job, GoGo.
  • Houston and Seattle lost, so Texas is up 8.5 games in the West, their biggest lead this season in almost two months.  Things are good.  Let's see Texas keep it going and make it a boring September.