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Thoughts on a 7-0 Rangers win

Rangers 7, A’s 0

Texas Rangers v Oakland Athletics Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

Rangers 7, A’s 0

  • Well, if you were worried about a hangover from Sunday’s gut punch loss impacting the team, Monday’s performance should help put that to bed.
  • A.J. Griffin, facing his former team, was masterful, allowing just 1 walk and 1 hit in 6 innings of work. Crucially, Griffin threw 60 of 91 pitches for strikes, including 15 of 19 first pitch strikes.
  • 91 pitches is around the upper limit of where the Rangers are comfortable pushing Griffin, and so the bullpen was asked to handle the final three innings. Alex Claudio pitched a scoreless 7th, using a GIDP to erase a one out walk, and retired the first two batters he faced in the 8th before a single and a double led Jeff Banister to pull him for Jeremy Jeffress. Jeffress, who seemingly has pitched in every game this season, needed two pitches to dispatch pinch hitter Jaff Decker, setting the stage for Keone Kela to make his season debut in the 9th.
  • Kela, newly called up to replace Sam Dyson, who was stashed on the disabled list, had an opportunity to get back into the swing of things in a relatively low-stress setting, with the Rangers up 7-0. Kela needed just 10 pitches to record a 1-2-3 9th and nail down the victory.
  • A productive and healthy Kela would be huge for a Rangers bullpen that is currently missing Sam Dyson and Jake Diekman. Hopefully, this outing is an indicator of what can be expected from Kela now that he has returned.
  • The bats got going early, with Carlos Gomez and Elvis Andrus each singling to start the game, and Nomar Mazara then doubling to drive in Gomez and put runners on second and third with no one out. The runners were stranded, leading to fretting that Texas would regret not cashing in that scoring opportunity, but as it turned out, that Gomez run would end up being all the Rangers needed.
  • After the three hits to start the game, the Rangers only had four more hits the rest of the way, but they also drew seven walks, including three by Shin-Soo Choo. The fifth inning, when the Rangers broke it open, was started by a Choo walk. Then Joey Gallo — who was 0 for 3 but, importantly, didn’t strike out -- had a terrific at bat that ended on a 3-2 walk, putting runners on first and second for Jurickson Profar. Profar bunted the runners over, setting the stage for both to score on a Gomez double. After an Elvis K and a Mazara intentional walk (and then stolen base), Mike Napoli doubled Gomez and Mazara home, giving the Rangers a 5-0 lead.
  • The final two insurance runs came around in the top of the 9th, when Profar and Gomez led off the inning with a walk, advanced on an Elvis ground out, and scored on a Mazara single, giving Texas its 7-0 margin of victory.
  • Big games from both Gomez and Mazara, who were each 2 for 4 with a double and a walk. It was good to see from Gomez, in particular, as he has struggled early in the season. Monday, however, he stung the ball and looked good, hopefully signs he is shaking off the early season doldrums he’s been dealing with.
  • So a very nice win, on the road, after an unpleasant road sweep in Seattle. Hopefully we all feel better now.