clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Thoughts on an 8-7 Rangers win

Rangers 8, A’s 7

Oakland Athletics v Texas Rangers Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Rangers 8, A’s 7

  • So, that was like Friday’s game, except the A’s were the ones whose bullpen gave up a big early lead, and the Rangers were the ones who chipped away and came back and were triumphant, so this was much better.
  • Adrian Sampson started the game today fo the Rangers, and he didn’t pitch well. Sampson generated a certain amount of buzz late last season and then this spring, with observers praising the development of his slider, saying it was more of a swing-and-a-miss pitch than previously. Sampson was in contention for an Opening Day roster spot as a long man until late in the spring, and is now getting the opportunity to fill in with Edinson Volquez out. The Rangers would seem to be hoping he can offer them a Nick Martinez-like depth option for the rotation, someone who can go 5-6 innings and allow 3-4 runs when needed.
  • Unfortunately for the Rangers, and for Sampson, that didn’t happen today. Sampson gave up one run in the first on an opposite-field Khris Davis double that barely missed being a home run, another run in the second on a Stephen Piscotty home run, and another run in the third on a Matt Chapman home run. And those were his good innings.
  • Things got out of control for Sampson with two outs in the fourth, when he issued a seemingly innocuous walk to Jurickson Profar. That walk, however, was followed up by three singles and then a double, turning a manageable 3-2 game into what appeared to be a 7-2 laugher for Oakland. Sampson got the final out of the fourth, but was replaced by Jesse Chavez in the fifth.
  • Sampson will get more opportunities, in no small part because there’s no one better knocking at the door for a rotation shot, but today highlighted his issues. He’s hittable, and he is going to have problems going through the order multiple times. Texas may want to consider tandeming him with Jeffrey Springs next time out, asking each to go 3 innings or so.
  • On the positive side, the bullpen, which was so awful on Friday, did solid work today. Jesse Chavez, who the broadcasters said feels he has been solid mechanically and with his stuff, and has simply been the victim of bad luck thus far this season, had a scoreless inning, and Jeanmar Gomez had a scoreless 2 inning stint. Springs pitched the 8th, and when the Rangers took the lead, it set the stage for Jose Leclerc to pitch the bottom of the ninth.
  • Leclerc, of course, has had two bad outings in a row — first the blown save in Arizona on Tuesday that featured the Jarrod Dyson walk off home run, and then the near meltdown protecting a lead against the D-Backs the following night that saw Kyle Bird be called upon to bail him out. Leclerc struck out three of the four batters he faced today, and showed much better fastball command, which is good news. At the same time, his cut-change, which he hasn’t had a feel for lately, was left out over the plate and hit for a single, so there’s still some work to be done there. Still, it looked much more like the guy who has been one of the best relievers in baseball since the start of last year.
  • The offense got on the board early against A’s starter Brett Anderson. Delino DeShields led off the bottom of the first by reaching on a play where Matt Chapman made a great stop on what looked like a single, and then made a poor throw to first, resulting in an E-5. Elvis Andrus then laced a ball to right-center that bounded to the wall for a triple, making it 1-0. After Hunter Pence grounded out, Nomar Mazara reached on a HBP. For some reason, with Logan Forsythe at the plate, Anderson rather deliberately threw to first to hold on the not-a-threat-to-steal Mazara. Elvis took the opportunity to break for home, and slid in safely for a steal of home and the Rangers second run.
  • Things went quiet for a while for the Rangers after that. From the second through the fourth, the Rangers had two base runners, courtesy of an Elvis walk and Patrick Wisdom reaching on another Davidson error. In the fifth, Texas scratched another run across, with a DeShields double, a steal of third, and an RBI ground out. That still left Texas down 4, though, in a game where no one but Delino and Elvis was hitting.
  • The seventh inning saw Texas draw to within 7-4, though it was due to an Elvis Andrus home run, meaning it was still the Delino and Elvis Show. Elvis, in case you haven’t noticed, has been really good so far. He’s got a 191 wRC+ for the season.
  • Anyway, the 8th inning was where things got particularly tasty. Nomar Mazara led off against former Ranger Joakim Soria, and slapped a single the opposite way. Logan Forsythe reached on a fielder’s choice and went to second on a wild pitch. Shin-Soo Choo walked, and then Asdrubal Cabrera lined a single to right, bringing home Forsythe and putting runners on first and third with one out, and the tying run coming to the plate.
  • Patrick Wisdom was due up, and Joey Gallo was in the starting lineup, so a perfect situation to pinch hit Gallo, right? Well, Chris Woodward did pinch hit for Wisdom...but with Danny Santana, who just came up from the minors yesterday to replace the injured Rougned Odor. Gallo, we found out after the game, was sick, and unavailable.
  • So of course, Danny Santana’s first major league plate appearance of the year was a gapper that brought home both runners. Delino followed that up with a beautiful bunt that he beat out, bringing home Santana for the go ahead run. It looked like there might be more after that, when Elvis lined a single to center, but Delino appeared to get confused about whether to try for third, then broke late, and was thrown out easily. Elvis made faces and showed his displeasure.
  • In any case, though, the TOOTBLAN didn’t matter because the Rangers won. Texas is back to .500. The Rangers may end up being terrible this year, but after two and a half weeks, they aren’t terrible yet.