- This was quite a mind-blowing game.
- Things started off not mind-blowing, or at least, not mind-blowing in a good way. Edinson Volquez, pitching in a real game for the first time since 2017, struggled with his command early on and gave up three in the top of the first, making a Cubs-heavy crowd in Arlington loud and making Rangers fans dread another shellacking.
- Volquez settled down a bit after that, however, allowing a run in the third, but otherwise keeping the Cubs off the board through the fourth inning, Volquez wasn’t particularly good over that stretch, mind you, but he was good enough, and outperformed Yu Darvish, who had a rough homecoming.
- Volquez gave way to Jeanmar Gomez in the fifth. Gomez, who came to camp on a minor league deal this spring, was a surprise in making the major league bullpen, and has now pitched in the first two games of the year, neither of them that well. Gomez allowed a one out homer to Kyle Schwarber, then a double to Willson Contreras, who went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sac fly. That gave the Cubs six runs on the game through five, which, you know, isn’t good,
- But! The pitching improved after that. Jeffrey Springs and Shawn Kelley combined to throw three hitless shutout innings from the 6th through 8th, and Jose Leclerc needed 13 pitches to close things out in the ninth, allowing just a Schwarber bunt single.
- But it wasn’t the pitching that was the real story for Texas tonight. No, it was the offense, that had chance after chance, scored some runs, left a bunch of runners on, seemed doomed to fall just short...and then came up big in the end.
- Yu Darvish was in trouble from early on. After striking out Shin-Soo Choo and Rougned Odor to start off the game, Yu then walked Elvis Andrus, Nomar Mazara and Joey Gallo to load the bases before striking out Asdrubel Cabrera to end the inning.
- The second was more of the same for Yu, whose command was as bad as I can ever recall seeing it tonight. Ronald Guzman and Isiah Kiner-Falefa each walked, though Guzman then was thrown out at third after he lost his footing and was caught off base at second after Delino DeShields pulled a bunt attempt back. DeShields then walked and Choo struck out, which meant that Yu had faced ten hitters, struck out four and walked six. Rougned Odor finally put a ball in play, lacing a single to right to bring home a run, before Elvis flew out to end the inning.
- The Rangers chased Yu in the third, as he walked Nomar again to lead off the inning, got Gallo on a fielder’s choice, then gave up a homer to Cabrera to make it 4-3. After Yu got Guzman on a ground out he was pulled for Steve Cishek, who gave up a single to IKF but then fanned Delino to end the inning.
- Jose Quintana, who is in the rotation for Chicago but won’t be needed to start until late next week, got brought in for long man duty and faced just three in the fourth, though that was in part due to Odor getting picked off after singling. In what was becoming a trend, the Rangers loaded the bases in the fifth but didn’t score, and then put a pair on in the sixth but stranded them with no runs. It was getting increasingly frustrating, and starting to look like one of those games we would be lamenting the missed opportunities.
- In the seventh, Cabrera reached on an infield hit, then Guzman went the opposite way for a double, putting runners on second and third. IKF appeared to draw a walk on a 3-1, but the pitch was called a strike, as was the next pitch, meaning instead of the bases being loaded with none out it was one out and two runners on. DeShields then struck out, leaving me convinced this was not going to end well, even though Choo singled home the runners to make it 6-5 before Odor struck out to end the inning.
- The 8th made it all worth it, however.
- Carl Edwards Jr., the former Ranger and former C.J. Edwards, came in for the eighth and gave up a single to Elvis. Nomar Mazara drew his fourth walk of the night, bringing up Joey Gallo. And Joey Gallo did what Joey Gallo does so well...hitting the ball high and hard, blasting a shot to just left of dead center, making it an 8-6 game and giving us all reason to celebrate.
- It was an awesome game, and I’m glad I stayed up the almost four hours to appreciate it.
- Gallo ended the night 1 for 4 with a walk and a K, and also had a great diving catch in left field. Nomar and DeShields were the only hitters to go hitless, though Nomar drew the four walks. Odor was 2 for 4 with a walk. Elvis was 2 for 4 with a walk. Cabrera was 3 for 4 with a walk. IKF drew a pair of walks and had a single.
- Great night for the home team. And now the Rangers and Lance Lynn get to go after Cole Hamels tomorrow in the rubber match.
Thoughts on an 8-6 Rangers win
Rangers 8, Cubs 6