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Thoughts on an 8-6 Rangers win

Rangers 8, Indians 6

Texas Rangers v Cleveland Indians Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images

Rangers 8, Indians 6

  • That was quite a game.
  • Doug Fister threw six shutout innings, and, but for his own fielding mistake, probably would have thrown seven shutout innings. WIth a 6-0 lead in the bottom of the seventh, Fister allowed a Yan Gomes single to lead off the inning, and then allowed Tyler Naquin to reach on his own throwing error — the second time in the game that Fister allowed a runner to get on due to a fielding issue, after misplaying a comebacker earlier in the game. Fister retired the next two batters before allowing Jason Kipnis to lace a double to right, bringing home both runners and prompting Jeff Banister to go get Jake Diekman, who finished out the seventh.
  • Diekman in the eighth gave everyone a scare when a hot shot back up the middle hit him in the back and knocked him down. The ball bounced over to first, where Ronald Guzman got the out, but it looked like Diekman was hurt. He shook it off, though, and stayed in the game, though he was lifted after he walked the next batter in favor of Jose Leclerc, who fanned Gomes to end the inning.
  • And then the ninth. Sigh. Keone Kela came in with a safe 6-2 lead, but allowed a leadoff single to Tyler Naquin. Bradley Zimmer hit a roller that Jurickson Profar fielded, but made a poor throw to second on. Drew Robinson made a nice play to make the catch, but couldn’t get Zimmer at first, so instead of none on and two out, there was one on and one out. Francisco Lindor followed with a bounding ball up the middle that went past Kela -- and maybe he had a shot at fielding it, maybe not. Either way, it was a single. Kipnis followed that with a single, loading the bases for Jose Ramirez. Ramirez got to 2-2, then watched a curveball that was in the bottom of the zone...and called a ball. I was mad. Everyone was mad. But Kela come back and threw a cold-blooded curve that froze Ramirez for strike three.
  • Bases loaded, two outs, Michael Brantley up. Kela threw two curves, the first a strike looking, the second a strike swinging, to get to 0-2. No doubt recalling the success with Ramirez, Kela went back to the well with a curve ball again...and hung it. Brantley took it out of the park. Grand slam home run. Tie game.
  • It felt like a loss was inevitable, especially when Edwin Encarnacion followed up with a single, putting the winning run on base, in the person of pinch runner Rajai Davis. Kela managed to fan Yonder Alonso swinging to end the inning...but it was a hollow victory. With a tired bullpen, in extra innings, it seemed just a matter of time before Cleveland walked it off.
  • Banister summoned Alex Claudio for the 10th. Claudio, of course, defied the odds the previous three seasons, putting up solid numbers with guile and deception and a killer changeup, but this season, the league seemingly had caught up to him. He pitched last night, faced three batters, and retired none of them. 2018 Alex Claudio doesn’t generate a ton of confidence.
  • But it didn’t matter what we think, what we believe, whether we have faith in Alex Claudio. He went out in the 10th, got a fly out, gave up a single, and then induced a 6-4-3 GIDP from the same Bradley Zimmer whose fielder’s choice was so fateful in the 9th. Come the 11th, Claudio retired the first two batters, gave up a double to Ramirez, and then, with the winning run at second, and the guy who hit the grand slam to tie the game up, got a grounder to first to end the inning. By the 12th, when the Rangers had taken the lead, it didn’t even feel like drama anymore. Fly out, ground out, ground out, and the Rangers, having blown a 6 run lead, walked away with the “W.”
  • Baseball is insane sometimes.
  • Texas did its damage with home runs -- four of them, one apiece from Delino DeShields and Nomar Mazara in regulation, and one apiece from Joey Gallo and Isiah Kiner-Falefa in the 12th -- and with Jurickson Profar doubles. Profar, Gallo and DeShields all ended the day 2 for 6, and IKF continued his remarkable run of major league success with a 4 for 6 night.
  • The Isiah Kiner-Falefa Experience has been amazing. Two home runs now in the majors, for a guy who didn’t have a home run at all as a pro until last season. Holding his own in the major leagues, when he’s supposed to be in AAA and is generally viewed as a future utility guy. He’s now up to a 774 OPS on the year, and yeah, its probably not sustainable, but I’m going to enjoy this while it lasts.
  • The Rangers have an early afternoon game tomorrow, and almost certainly have a pitcher heading to Cleveland from New Orleans, where the Express are playing. Matt Bush threw 32 pitches tonight, so he’s not an option for tomorrow, and even if you wanted to bring him up you’d have to make a d.l. move to do so, rather than sending someone down. Nick Gardewine and Connor Sadzeck are both on the 40 man roster, both pitched yesterday but not today, and one of the two of them would seem to be the obvious choice to call up, with either Chris Martin going on the d.l. due to his forearm cramp issues, or Alex Claudio or Jose Leclerc (who has thrown two days in a row, though with low pitch counts) being optioned.
  • Anyway...just a reminder that baseball is fun, you guys. Even when it seems like its not going to be fun, it can surprise you.