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Thoughts on a 3-2 Rangers win

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Rangers 3, Astros 2

MLB: Texas Rangers at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers 3, Astros 2

  • What a weird game.
  • Let’s start with Lucas Harrell, who made his second start for the Rangers, and was in trouble the entire time. He allowed a run in the first when, after a one out Alex Bregman double and a Jose Altuve groundout, he walked Carlos Correa, then walked Evan Gattis, and then walked Preston Tucker, forcing in a run. Somehow, he rebounded to get A.J. Reed to escape the inning with no further damage, but the 1-0 Houston lead seemed like it was likely to grow in the coming innings.
  • But no, that was it as regards Harrell allowing runs, though it was perpetually a close thing. Jake Marisnick singled to start the second inning and then stole second base, but Harrell struck out Jason Castro, George Springer and Bregman to strand him at second. In the third, Harrell issued a pair of walks and gave up two singles, but because the leadoff walk to Jose Altuve was erased when Altuve was caught trying to steal, no runs scored. In the fourth, after Bregman singled with two outs, Jeff Banister had seen enough, and yanked Harrell in favor of Tony Barnette.
  • So Harrell ended up throwing 92 pitches in 3.2 IP, just 44 for strikes (against 48 balls), walking 5, striking out 5, allowing 5 hits, and yet just giving up 1 run. It was not a good start, but he kept runs off the board, and that’s ultimately what matters, I guess.
  • Meanwhile, Barnette threw 1.1 scoreless innings, allowing a couple of hits, and then Keone Kela, Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Diekman each threw a perfect inning apiece, with Diekman striking out the side in his inning. That set the stage for Sam Dyson to pitch the ninth with a 3-1 lead, and despite allowing a pair of hits and a run, Dyson ended up protecting the lead and getting the save.
  • The fact that the Rangers actually got the lead still seems somewhat surprising, since the Rangers might have done more squandering of opportunities in the early going than the Astros did. Two singles to start the game in the first, both stranded. A single-single-walk sequence with two outs in the second, no one scores. A walk-single-single two out sequence in the fourth that ends with Nomar Mazara getting thrown out at home by George Springer (on a play that Jeff Banister challenged, but which was confirmed). A out one Carlos Beltran double going to waste in the fifth.
  • It had the feel of one of those games where the Rangers would get just one run or something while stranding 12 batters, but Jonathan Lucroy single-handedly kept that from happening. Lucroy led off the 6th inning with a solo home run, tying the game. Texas took the lead in the 7th, when Shin-Soo Choo walked to lead off the inning, stole second, and then after an Ian Desmond K, scored on a Carlos Beltran single. After an Adrian Beltre fly out, Rougned Odor doubled to left center, but Beltran got gunned down at the plate on a play that resulted in him being lifted due to a “quad contusion.” For the insurance run (a run that turned out to be very meaningful), Lucroy led off the 8th with a solo home run, providing the final scoring for Texas.
  • Some big nights at the plate, even without a bunch of runs...Choo was 2 for 3 with a pair of walks, while Beltran was 3 for 4. Elvis Andrus was 3 for 4, Mazara was 1 for 3 with a walk, and of course, Lucroy had his two home run game, as well as doing a great job blocking balls behind the plate.
  • So yeah, the bats did some good things, even if there weren’t lots of runs, and the bullpen was great, and Texas is back up to 6.5 up on Houston in the West, and Yu Darvish goes tomorrow.
  • So, yay! Rangers baseball is fun...