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Thoughts on a 5-2 Rangers win

Rangers 5, Royals 2

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Texas Rangers Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers 5, Royals 2

  • Well, that was a nice little sweep, wasn’t it? Especially on the heels of being swept in Oakland, which included the weird Yu Darvish game and Martin Perez giving up a bunch of runs in the first inning of his start against the A’s. Texas came back to Arlington with a 5-10 record, facing four games against Kansas City, and people were already starting to talk about what the Rangers could get when (not if) the sell-off occurred.
  • Now? 9-10 record, all is copacetic, we are...well, if not all happy, at least a little more at ease.
  • Yu Darvish returned the mound after getting yanked in the sixth inning in Oakland in his last start, and was hitting on all cylinders. The only problem Darvish had was in two outs in the third, when he gave up a home run to Mike Moustakas on a cutter that didn’t really cut, and then a home run to Jorge Bonifacio on a curve that hung a little. After that, Darvish settled down and retired 15 of the final 16 batters he faced, the only aberration being Eric Hosmer singling in the 6th, though Hosmer was promptly erased by a GIDP.
  • I think everyone thought that Darvish would be finished after the 7th inning, at a little over 100 pitches, but Banister sent him back out for what turned out to be a 1-2-3 8th inning. It was almost as if, after yanking him early last time out, Banister was giving him a little more rope this time than usual.
  • The end result was 8 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs (both on solo home runs), 1 walk, 8 Ks for Darvish. His ERA on the season is now down to 3.03.
  • Matt Bush came in for the 9th and had an uneventful 1-2-3 with a K, notching the save.
  • It was a scoreless game when the two solo home runs were recorded by the Royals, and anytime in a Darvish start you’ve got something like that, you start wondering if this is going to be one of those games where Texas doesn’t put any runs on the board in support of him. Texas had a two on, one out situation it didn’t capitalize on in the first, as well as a walk in the second that was stranded, and so there was the air of missed opportunities looming as well.
  • It ended up being fine, of course. Cleanup hitter Elvis Andrus singled home Shin-Soo Choo in the bottom of the third, to cut the lead in half, and then in the fourth inning, the Rangers chased Jason Hammel from the game despite not registering a hit. Ryan Rua walked and stole second, Joey Gallo was hit by a 3-1 pitch, and then Robinson Chirinos was hit by an 0-2 pitch that the Royals thought hit the bat, and ended up (unsuccessfully) challenging. With the bases loaded, Hammel walked Jurickson Profar, forcing home a run, and that was all she wrote for the Royals’ starter. Texas could only push one more run across once with the bases loaded, no one out situation -- a run scoring fielders choice by Carlos Gomez and a GIDP by Choo ended the inning — but hey, it was a lead.
  • And best of all, Yu followed that up with a 1-2-3 top of the fifth, meaning we didn’t have to listen to a bunch of whining about how he doesn’t know how to win.
  • Texas put up a couple of solo homers of their own to cap off the scoring, with Joey Gallo going the other way for a 422 foot bomb with one out in the sixth, and Robinson Chirinos going deep in the 8th, giving Texas the final 5-3 margin of victory.
  • Choo and Mazara each had two hit days, and Gallo didn’t have a Three True Outcome hattrick, since he had an HBP instead of a walk, but he did fan once to go with the home run, and personally, if Gallo strikes out once every four plate appearances, that’s fine with me.
  • So we have a sweep, and Darvish looks great again, and the Rangers are just a game out of second place in the West. Hopefully, we can table any more panicking for a while.