- You know how the first series of the season was action packed and exciting and how the last two games in particular were exhilarating and kind of bizarre? That’s not how tonight’s game was.
- No, the big story from tonight’s game is that the Rangers long reliever, who was called up today, went six innings and gave up just one run, and still hit tagged with a loss.
- Drew Smyly made his Rangers debut, and pitched in a major league game for the first time since 2016. Chris Woodward said after the game that Smyly didn’t have the feel for his curve tonight, and that manifested itself in Smyly struggled to get swings and misses, resulting in long at bats. Smyly ultimately only went three innings tonight, allowing 4 hits, 2 walks, and 1 run while striking out 2. Smyly needed 73 pitches to get thru three.
- So before the game the Rangers opted to bring up Adrian Sampson to be the long man. Sampson was one of the last cuts in spring training, being sent to AAA when Texas opted to keep Kyle Bird as the second lefty. Apparently feeling a long man was paramount with Smyly and Shelby Miller, both of whom are coming back from injury (and neither of whom went deep in a game in spring training), Bird was shipped out before today’s game and replaced by Sampson.
- And Sampson was a long man, indeed. He matched Smyly’s hit total, walk total, and runs allowed in a 6 inning stint, striking out one more than Smyly did. The line run he allowed came in the sixth when Carlos Correa doubled to right center, and then Robinson Chirinos flared a one out double to shallow left. Joey Gallo probably should have nailed Chirinos at second, but in what has become an early trend for him, he made a mediocre throw, and even if he had thrown out Chirinos Correa would have scored anyway so it probably doesn’t really matter.
- So Sampson did a quality job in long relief, and picked up a loss, and now may well also get sent back down tomorrow since, having thrown 70 pitches today, he’s likely unavailable until Friday at the earliest, and Texas may want a fresh long man in the pen tomorrow.
- The extent of the highlights for the bats was that Ronald Guzman homered. The only other hit for the Rangers was a Rougned Odor single that Jose Altuve could have possibly gotten Odor at first on if he had handled it cleanly. And Chirinos threw Odor out stealing anyway so the end result was the Astros pitchers facing just one above the minimum.
- So it was a lousy day for everyone on the Rangers other than Adrian Sampson, whose first name I just had to go look up even though I just watched him throw six innings. Oh, and I guess it was an okay day for Ronald Guzman, since he homered. Everyone else needs to pick it up tomorrow, except for Drew Smyly, who needs to pick it up in his next start on Saturday.
Thoughts on a 2-1 Rangers loss
Astros 2, Rangers 1