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Thoughts on an 8-7 Rangers loss

Astros 8, Rangers 7

MLB: Houston Astros at Texas Rangers Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Astros 8, Rangers 7

  • Two weird games in a row between the Rangers and Astros.
  • Matt Moore was, of course, awful. 3 innings pitched, 9 hits allowed, 1 walk, 6 runs allowed. He was only at 50 pitches after 3 innings despite facing 18 batters, mainly because he was throwing so many meatballs the Astros didn’t have a chance to work the count because they were able to crush his pitches. Doug Fister and Martin Perez being on the d.l. may be the only thing keeping Moore in the rotation right now, although the Rangers could theoretically decide they’d rather have two of Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Yohander Mendez, Ariel Jurado and Yovani Gallardo in the rotation rather than just one of them and Moore.
  • Jesse Chavez once again did his job, coming into the game in the fourth inning because the Rangers were doing some damage against Dallas Keuchel and Jeff Banister apparently wanted to keep the game within reach rather than allow Moore to work on things while continuing to get knocked around. He pitched four innings, allowed a single run on a Yuli Gurriel home run, and lowered his ERA on the season to 3.46. He’s not on the list of things we should be unhappy about this season.
  • Jake Diekman struck out two in a scoreless inning of work, lowering his ERA to 3.09 as he continues to audition for teams looking for a flame-throwing late-inning rental lefty for the stretch run.
  • Keone Kela was asked to keep the game tied at 7, and he failed to do that. He walked George Springer to lead off the ninth, struck out Alex Bregman, and with Springer at second due to a wild pitch, intentionally walked Jose Altuve. Gurriel flew out, advancing Springer, bringing Evan Gattis up with two outs. Altuve stole second, and then Keone Kela got called for a balk, bringing the winning run home. He struck out Gattis, but it was too late then.
  • I’m not going to re-hash the balk call, which wasn’t initially called, then was after A.J. Hinch came out to complain, which resulted in Jeff Banister getting ejected. You can read about it here. The consensus was that it should have been called a balk. That said, this is one of those instances where I have a hard time getting too worked up about it, even though I’m sure I’d be furious if wins and losses had more meaning this year. I mean, I want the Rangers to win every game, and I’m bummed they lost, the grand scheme of things, in a bad season, I can’t really summon up the energy to get all that worked up over whether the umpires screwed up, whether it should have been called a balk after the fact, what have you. Especially given that, if there isn’t a balk, the game is still tied, and there’s a better chance than not the Astros go on to win in extra innings anyway. If this could have been the difference between the Rangers winning the division and being home in October, I’d be pounding out a couple of thousand angry words about it. Now, though? Meh. It happened, and, to quote Michael Young, I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.
  • On the plus side, the offense, which has spent most of this season being terrible, had a good day. Delino DeShields — who, as I noted earlier this week, is having a terrible year despite having almost the same offensive batting ball profile as 2017 — had 3 hits. Adrian Beltre had 3 hits and a walk. Nomar Mazara, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Ronald Guzman each had two hits. Rougned Odor had two hits and an HBP. Everyone in the starting lineup, in fact, had a hit today other than Jurickson Profar, who picked up an 0 for 5.
  • I’ll take a game where the bats — particularly the young bats — are doing good things and relievers are building trade value and Matt Moore has a lousy start that ends up being responsible for the loss at this point over a game where the young hitters struggle and the reason the Rangers win is because Bartolo Colon throws a shutout and, say, Shin-Soo Choo and Robinson Chirinos have big hits.
  • Anyway, off day tomorrow, so we can all wallow in this loss an extra day before another game.