Robinson Chirinos spent six years as a backstop for the Rangers and many assumed this winter he would spend a seventh year in Arlington as Texas held a relatively cheap option for his services and Chirinos had been a productive hitter as far as catchers go during his time in Texas.
Instead, Texas veered off course and decided to prioritize defense at the position and signed Jeff Mathis to take Chirinos’ spot on the roster and elevated Isiah Kiner-Falefa to a more prominent role behind the plate.
Tonight, in first game back against his old team as a member of the rival Houston Astros, Chirinos collected the 1-1 tie-breaking, go-ahead RBI double in the top of the sixth that eventually proved to be the game winner and even showed off a little defensive prowess by throwing out Rougned Odor at second base an inning later after Rougie reached as just the second hit for the Rangers on the evening.
I would be mad about this happening if it happened because of just about any other person but Robinson Chirinos is one of the best people in baseball so he perhaps earned a little measure of satisfaction at the expense of the old home team even if he maybe didn’t actively desire it.
Player of the Game: After Drew Smyly left the game after three inefficient innings, recently called up Adrian Sampson came in and tossed six innings of much-needed relief for the Rangers where, even though he picked up the loss, he allowed just the one run and actually threw strikes while he was on the mound.
Sampson’s reward for closing out the game in valiant fashion is probably another trip down to Nashville as his 70-pitch effort will likely leave him unable to pitch for at least several days. Needless to say, Sampson deserved better.
Up Next: The Rangers and Astros reconvene for the second game of this series on Tuesday night with Shelby Miller set to make his Rangers debut against Justin Verlander for Houston. First pitch from Arlington is scheduled for 7:05 pm CT.