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Thoughts on a 7-2 Rangers win

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Rangers 7, Rays 2

MLB: Texas Rangers at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers 7, Rays 2

  • Baseball is so weird, you guys.
  • The Rangers are on the road, playing a IF/C who is supposed to be in AAA at shortstop, an outfielder at 2B, a guy who is supposed to be in AAA at first base, a Rule 5 pick who should be in AA at center field, a waiver claim at catcher, and a guy who has a claim for being the worst starting pitcher in MLB since the start of 2017 on the mound. And of course, the Rangers win in a blowout.
  • Moore didn’t look, early on, like he was going to have much more success than he had in his first three starts of the season, in which he gave up a total of 13 runs in 12.1 IP while picking up the loss in each start. He allowed a pair of singles in the first inning and a single and an error (his own) in the second, though he escaped each jam without a run scoring. In the third, he started off the inning walking Daniel Robertson, allowed a single to Adeiny Hechavarria, and then, after a Carlos Gomez K, an infield single/error combination allowed an unearned run to score, and had the Rays down just 2-1 with two on and one out. Moore induced Wilson Ramos to ground into a double play, however, to escape trouble.
  • And, miracle of miracles, that was the last hit the Rays got off of Matt Moore. Moore put up a 1-2-3 4th inning, walked Robertson again in the 5th but erased him on a GIDP, hit C.J. Cron in the 6th but left him stranded, and threw a 1-2-3 7th inning. End result was 7 IP, 5 hits, 2 walks, 6 Ks, and just the one unearned run. It was a strong outing from a guy who really needed a strong outing, and a reminder of why the Rangers have been intrigued by him for so long.
  • Kevin Jepsen pitched a scoreless 8th inning, and needed just 14 pitches to do so. With a 7-1 lead, I thought Jepsen might be allowed to pitch the 9th, but Matt Bush came into the game. Bush gave up a home run before closing it out, and it has me wondering whether Bush pitching the ninth is an indication of where he is in the bullpen pecking order, or a function of Jeff Banister not wanting to blow this game.
  • Of course, with Jesse Chavez logging four innings yesterday, the bullpen is now fairly well rested. Alex Claudio, Jake Diekman, Keone Kela and Chris Martin all head into tomorrow’s matinee game with two full days rest, and then Thursday is an off day.
  • A terrific game from Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who made up for his error by going 4 for 5 at the plate tonight. IKF, as noted above, should be in the minors, and is someone who profiles as a role player, but since getting promoted and then pressed into starting duty due to injuries, he has held his own and looked like a player.
  • Hits from everyone tonight except Joey Gallo, who did draw a walk. Shin-Soo Choo had a strong game, going 1 for 2 with a home run, 2 walks and a sac fly. Choo has been slumping, and like Moore, really needed a big game.
  • Ronald Guzman went 1 for 5 with 2 Ks, but his one hit was a big one -- a two out, two run double in the fifth, giving Texas a 5-1 lead and providing some breathing room for the Rangers, who haven’t had many big leads this year.
  • A weird subplot of sorts from today...in the 7th, with Nomar Mazara on first and no one out, Adrian Beltre laced a ball into right field, and hobbled, in Beltre fashion, towards first. Former Ranger Carlos Gomez fielded the ball and threw to first, forcing Beltre to hustle to beat the throw, and causing those of us always fearful Beltre is going to pull something when he has to run to cringe. The next time Gomez came to the plate, in the bottom of the 8th, he was plunked by Jepsen. In the top of the ninth, with two outs and no one on, Juan Centeno was buzzed by Alex Colome.
  • It may be nothing, or it may be something. Jepsen may have felt Gomez was out of line for throwing to first on Beltre, and was sending a message. Or Jepsen wasn’t sending a message, but the Rays thought he was, and responded in kind. Or it is all a coincidence.
  • Early game tomorrow, then a day off. A win tomorrow, and Texas will have taken their second series in a row. A loss, and Texas has split a six game road trip.