- So much for Willie Calhoun’s day off...
- Drew Smyly started for the Rangers today, and had a very Drew Smyly outing. He started the game giving up a double, a walk, and a double, putting Texas down 2-0 before the echoes from the national anthem had fully faded out, and needed 37 pitches to get through the first. Smyly then allowed just one hit and no runs over the next 3 innings, though he did walk 3 more batters, and thus ended up allowing 2 runs through 4 innings. However, since he was at 93 pitches, which is about his limit, he was done for the day.
- The combination of Smyly not being able to put batters away and his need to be limited to around 90 pitches make him a great candidate for being paired with an opener the rest of the way, especially with an opponent with a righty-heavy top of the lineup.
- Jose Leclerc came in for the fifth inning, and was scintillating. Leclerc struck out Paul Goldschmidt, Paul DeJong, and Marcell Ozuna, all swinging, in the fifth, and then came out in the sixth and struck out Jose Martinez and Dexter Fowler, with Yadier Molina flying out in between. It was as dominant a performance as Leclerc has had this year, and is the latest data point suggesting the elite Leclerc may be back.
- Also, Jesse Chavez pitched! And was good! Chavez has a 1-2-3 seventh, and though he gave up a walk and a double in the eighth, he escaped unscored upon due to a GIDP. Chavez now has 7 scoreless outings in a row, and has 9.2 IP scoreless since his last bad outing.
- This set the stage for Chris Martin to save a 3-2 Ranger triumph, except Dexter Fowler, after a lengthy at bat, took Martin deep with one out to tie the game. It was very vexing, and another thing we can point to about the closer role being cursed.
- Jeanmar Gomez pitched the 10th because, well, the Rangers were almost out of pitchers. Jeffrey Springs wasn’t available after throwing a lot of pitches yesterday, and Kyle Dowdy likely wasn’t, either. Brett Martin pitched yesterday, and probably could have gone, and there was also Shelby Miller, but basically, the options were not many. Gomez promptly gave up a run in the 10th, and seemed in danger of giving up more before escaping, but it all worked out since it made the eventual win more dramatic.
- The offense was non-productive most of the day. Shin-Soo Choo led off the bottom of the first with a home run, and then the Rangers hit into double plays in the second and third, and then Hunter Pence doubled home Logan Forsythe in the fourth to tie the game. Then nothing of note happened until the bottom of the 8th when Chris Woodward lifted Ronald Guzman so that Danny Santana could pinch hit against Andrew Miller.
- I did not understand this. Yes, Miller can be hard on lefties, but Guzman has been showing legit power this year. Santana, meanwhile, was helped off the field yesterday after being hit on the ankle, and was supposed to not be available for a day or two, and might have to go on the i.l. Plus he’s, you know, Danny Santana. I was baffled.
- So of course Santana homered to give the Rangers the lead. And but for Dexter Fowler, he would be the big hero of the game, rather than having to share the glory.
- So, 10th inning, Rougned Odor hit a 2 strike 102 mph fastball to right for a single. Santana, still in the game, walked. Willie Calhoun pinch hit for Jeff Mathis, and because Willie Rakes, he singled to right, tying the score. Hicks was lifted for Carlos Martinez, and Choo was walked intentionally. Forsythe struck out, but Nomar Mazara lifted a fly ball to center that was just deep enough to bring Santana, and his bad ankle, home with the winning run.
- It was glorious and there was much celebrating, and all the Cardinal fans who invaded the ballpark went home sad.
Rangers 5, Cardinals 4