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Thoughts on a 5-1 Rangers win

Rangers 5, Mariners 1

MLB: Texas Rangers at Seattle Mariners Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers 5, Mariners 1

  • This will go down as one of the stranger wins of the Rangers season.
  • Through seven innings, the Rangers were completely useless against someone named Christian Bergman who was starting for the Mariners. He’s a 30 year old righty with a career 5.58 ERA coming into today’s game in 201.2 IP from 2014-17 with the Rockies and Mariners. It was Bergman’s first major league appearance of the season.
  • And he completely shut down the Rangers through 7. He didn’t even give up a baserunner until the fifth, when Isiah Kiner-Falefa picked up a two out infield single. He ended up allowing 2 hits and 0 walks in 7 innings of work, with no runs allowed. Unfortunately for M’s fans, he left after 7 with a no decision, because Bartolo Colon was doing his weird magical 2018 Bartolo Colon thing where he doesn’t allow the opposing team to score runs.
  • James Pazos came into the game for the 8th inning, and the indefatigable IKF led off the inning with a single. Rougned Odor reached on a bunt single, putting two on with no one out, and then things seemingly went south. Ronald Guzman struck out on three pitches. Robinson Chirinos came in as a pinch hitter for Carlos Perez, the M’s brought in Nick Vincent, and Chirinos went down on three pitches. Now two outs, Seattle appeared primed to escape from the jam...but Delino DeShields had enough of the nonsense that was the Rangers getting shut out, and doubled to right, bringing home IKF to make it a 1-0 game.
  • Bartolo started the 8th inning with the 1-0 lead, gave up a single to Mike Zunino, then retired the next two batters before giving way to Jake Diekman, who came on to face Dee Gordon. Gordon singled, putting the tying run at second and the go ahead run on first and making those of us who still want the Rangers to win games in 2018 nervous, but Jeff Banister summoned Jose Leclerc from the pen, Leclerc retired Jean Segura for the third out, and the 1-0 lead was preserved.
  • The top of the ninth was when things got really wacky. Jurickson Profar led off the inning with a ground rule double, chasing Vincent and bringing Mark Rzepczynski into the game to face the Rangers’ tough lefties. He did his job, striking out Nomar Mazara and Joey Gallo, and then intentionally walked IKF to bring Rougned Odor to the plate. It looked like he would get out of the inning on an Odor grounder, but a Ryon Healy error meant everyone was safe, and the bases were loaded for Guzman against. The lefty-on-lefty matchup favored the M’s, and Rzep got Ronald Guzman to strike out swinging...but the ball got away, Guzman reached first safely, and not only did Profar score, but IKF hustled his way all the way home from second base. In what may have been the most improbable event of the night, Guzman stole second, putting runners at second and third, before Chirinos walked to load the bases. A Delino DeShields bases loaded walk and a Shin-Soo Choo infield single brought two more runs home before a Jurickson Profar fielder’s choice ended in the inning with Texas up 5-0.
  • Keone Kela came in to pitch the ninth, and of course, Kyle Seager had to homer off of him with one out because Kyle Seager does those sorts of things against the Rangers, and Kela then walked Healy on 10 pitches, but a Ben Gamel 6-4-3 GIDP ended the game and gave the Rangers the win.
  • According to B-R, never before in MLB history has a pitcher had a 0.2 IP, 0 hit, 1 walk, 3 K, 3 runs allowed game, as Rzep did today. And to see it, you had to watch on Facebook.
  • As an aside, one of the things that the beat guys have started to talk about is IKF’s...verve, mojo, I don’t know what you’d call it. But Evan Grant said today on Twitter that his demeanor reminds him of Michael Young when he was first called up -- respectful, professional, but also behaving like he belonged. The play today in the ninth, when IKF came all the way around to score from second on the wild pitch, was a gutsy, heads-up play, and is one of those things we might point to later and say, that’s when we all knew IKF was a major leaguer. I’m not sure what his future role will be, and I expect he’ll end up going back to AAA at some point this season, but if you are looking for a positive surprise from 2018, one that could matter down the road, the Hawaiian is at the top of the list.