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Thoughts on a 2-1 Rangers loss

Mariners 2, Rangers 1

Texas Rangers v Seattle Mariners Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Mariners 2, Rangers 1

  • Another one of these games that the Rangers could have won, but didn’t.
  • As you probably know, the focus of this game is Rougned Odor. He had two hits, stole a base, and scored the only Ranger run of the game. He was a big part of why the Rangers were in position to win.
  • He also got picked off of second base while appearing to be setting up to try to steal third, and bobbled what would have been an inning-ending double play in the sixth, which was followed by three base hits that resulted in two runs scoring that otherwise wouldn’t have. As a result, he was also a big part of why the Rangers lost.
  • And because he’s Rougned Odor, and is maddening and frustrating and has that big contract and hits home runs and is aggressive and makes good plays and makes bad plays and punched Jose Bautista and got two horses with his deal and has driven many Ranger fans crazy, his mistakes end up getting magnified and seem to come at the worst possible times. Its reminiscent of 2015 Elvis Andrus, when it seemed like every error led to a run, every miscue on the bases seemed critical, and a former fan favorite became a punching bag due to a big contract being followed by major struggles.
  • Odor, of course, was never as good as Elvis was pre-contract, and is worse than Elvis was when Elvis is struggling, and while I was ride-or-die with Elvis, I’m not as confident that Odor will get things straightened out. But there’s echoes in what has seemingly turned into an amazing degree of hostility towards a flawed, but talented, young player trying to get back on track. And as with Elvis a few years back, every play and at bat seems exaggerated in its importance, and on Twitter and on the comments here fans pile on him.
  • Anyway, there were things that didn’t have to do with Rougned Odor that happened today. Doug Fister pitched a nice game, giving Texas five strong innings before that unfortunate sixth, and then allowing the first two runners of the seventh to reach before being pulled for Jose Leclerc. On the broadcast, they noted that Fister seems to start fading at around 70 pitches, and I was surprised that he was sent back on for the seventh.
  • Nevertheless, it was a Quality Start, and with a 4.09 ERA on the season, Fister continues to quietly be a nice addition to the club. The Rangers will have to figure out what to do about the endurance issue, and maybe they need to plan on having Tony Barnette available to pitch two innings in a quasi-tandem arrangement with Fister, or something. But it was a solid start from Fister.
  • Jose Leclerc followed up with two innings of shutout relief, and continues to establish himself as arguably the Rangers’ best reliever right now, albeit one whose occasional lapses in control scare you.
  • That said, the offense once again was woeful. Ironically, it is the guys who seem to be some of the biggest punching bags on the team -- Ryan Rua, Rougned Odor, Shin-Soo Choo, and Robinson Chirinos — who did most of the damage. The four of them combined for four hits and four walks, each getting on twice apiece (although Rua’s hit should have been ruled a fly out, not a single, and he was tagged out on the bases in large part because everyone assumed it was caught, and it didn’t matter anyway because if it had gone to a replay the call would have been reversed). Delino DeShields got two out single in the eighth, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa got a walk in the ninth, but the Rangers couldn’t capitalize on either of them.
  • Now Austin Bibens-Dirkx gets to start tomorrow, looking to break a two game losing streak, and will be almost certainly sent back to Round Rock the following day so Matt Moore can be activated and start Wednesday. Such is life with the 2018 Rangers.