I’ll say this up front: Tonight was not a good night for home plate umpire Ron Kulpa and in virtually all ways he was bad, it favored the Rangers.
My instinct is the shrug.emoji over this because, hey, division rival getting the shaft is funny! But man, then Kulpa decided to show his whole big butt over it and I could no longer abide.
This is not acceptable:
Ron Kulpa after staring down the #Astros dugout multiple times and throwing out Alex Cintron and AJ Hinch told Hinch twice, “I can do whatever I want.” #TakeItBack #LipReading pic.twitter.com/egW8l6BqvD— Landry Locker (@LandryLocker) April 4, 2019
Especially so because Kulpa was actually in the wrong. On calls like this that went for the Rangers:
It’s Kulpa Time!!!! pic.twitter.com/3Nbr13ERIv— Levi Weaver (@ThreeTwoEephus) April 4, 2019
And also later in calls that went against the Astros in the inning a coach and manager A.J. Hinch were tossed. It’s funny, yes, because it happened to people we don’t like and hindered them in their attempt to beat people we do like. But it’s also not going to be funny when it happens to the Rangers and MLB needs to tighten this up.
An umpire being complete wrong and then smirking and refusing to de-escalate and then telling a guy “I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT!” is not only a bad look, it’s just plain bad for literally what an umpire is there on the field to do.
Nevertheless, the Rangers beat the Astros 4-0 and emphatically took the series against their in-state rivals to the surprise of probably everyone but the fellas themselves.
Texas scored first for the first time all season when the ever-swift Nomar Mazara legged out an infield single to plate Elvis Andrus but the real back-breaking inning was in the bottom of the fourth when Hunter Pence tied himself into knots knocking in a run on a single by the bag at first and then Condor Guzman brought in Pence with an oppo double to the gap.
The final run, you ask?
You don’t have to leg out a hit when you hit it there.
Oh, and yeah, Joey Gallo walked three times tonight. That’s seven walks to six Ks for Gallo so far this year with a team-high six runs scored.
The Rangers are now two games over .500 for the first time since Sept. 8 2017 and have won back-to-back series against the Cubs and Astros to begin the season with the four wins coming against Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels, Justin Verlander, and Gerrit Cole.
Player of the Game: Boy the Rangers really needed tonight’s start from Mike Minor. After seeing every starter through the season’s first five games be unable to really find the strike zone effectively — leading to extremely inefficient outings — Minor went seven innings and didn’t allow a run while striking out seven and only walking two.
Up Next: The Rangers head out for their first road trip of the season and will open a four-game set in Anaheim with Edinson Volquez set to take the mound on Thursday night against RHP Matt Harvey for the Angels. First pitch from Angels Stadium is scheduled for 9:07 pm CT.