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Thoughts on a 9-4 Rangers win

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Rangers 9, Astros 4

Houston Astros v Texas Rangers Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

Rangers 9, Astros 4

  • And just like that, the series is tied.
  • Adrian Sampson versus Gerrit Cole is one of those games that, on paper, is a clear mismatch. But its worth remembering that baseball is a game where even the worst teams generally win 60 games over the course of a season, and in even the most lopsided matchups, an MLB rarely would be expected to win less than 25% of the time. Today is a good reminder of that.
  • Adrian Sampson was staked to an early lead, and kept Houston off the board the first four innings, even though the Astros got a runner to second in three of those four innings. He got into trouble right away in the fifth, however — single, wild pitch, home run, single, single, fielder’s choice, and Sampson was out of the game after 4.1 IP. The final line was 2 runs allowed, 7 hits, 1 walk and 3 Ks. I kind of feel like Sampson is someone you don’t really want to have go through the lineup more than twice, and if they stick with him in the rotation, they may want to consider using an opener, or planning on pairing him with someone like Jeffrey Springs who they can look to for 2-3 innings of relief, asking Sampson to just go 3-4 innings.
  • Shawn Kelley got the nod in the fifth inning with a 6-2 lead, two on and one out. That’s way earlier than you’d expect to see Kelley, but then, it was a critical juncture in the game, and is the type of situation where we’d normally say, the manager should be bringing in one of his top relievers rather than his long man or whoever. Kelley coming in there was the unconventional move, but I think the right one, with Alex Bregman, Michael Brantley and Carlos Correa due up, and its noteworthy to me that Chris Woodward went with him there.
  • Kelley got a GIDP from Bregman to end the inning, and then threw a scoreless sixth. Jesse Chavez pitched the 7th and 8th, allowing a 2 run homer to George Springer, and Chris Martin finished things out.
  • The bats jumped on Gerrit Cole early, putting 5 on the board in the first inning, with Shin-Soo Choo leading off with a double, Danny Santana singling him home, and then Elvis Andrus and Nomar Mazara walking. Joey Gallo struck out looking on about as well-located a 100 mph fastball as you’ll see, but then Asdrubal Cabrera singled home two, Logan Forsythe singled home a runner, and after a fielder’s choice, Cabrera scored on an E-6 off the bat of Delino DeShields.
  • There was carping from Cole in that inning, and the 3-2 pitch that Elvis walked on (as part of a 10 pitch at bat) was a strike, but then, he’d had an obvious ball earlier in the count called a strike, so I figure it evened out.
  • Joey Gallo had another parabolic long-distance home run down the first base line in the third, making it a 6-0 game. The final three runs came in the fifth. Joey Gallo had a one out double, and was singled home by Cabrera. Forsythe walked, prompting Cole to be lifted for Chris Devenski, and after an Isiah Kiner-Falefa fielder’s choice and stolen base, Delino tripled, bringing home the final two runs the Rangers scored.
  • Everyone had a hit or a walk except for IKF. Elvis walked twice and fanned twice. Santana had three hits. Gallo had the double and a home run, along with a fly out and a K, and is now sporting a 1080 OPS.
  • If you want something to fret over, Cabrera had a bad, weird throw to first early in the game, and got examined, as it looked like something was wrong with his shoulder, but he stayed in the game. Don’t be surprised, though, if he gets a day off tomorrow and Patrick Wisdom plays at third.
  • It was a good game, and good things happen, and the Rangers are 11-8. Its been an unexpectedly fun first month of the season so far, and hopefully the Rangers can continue that by taking the series tomorrow.