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Thoughts on a 5-1 Rangers win

Rangers 5, Royals 1

Kansas City Royals v Texas Rangers Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Rangers 5, Royals 1

  • And we have a Tom Grieve tip of the cap today for Adrian Sampson. The righthander, who a month ago didn’t have a major league win, has picked up the W in his last four appearances, with today’s game being easily the best performance of his career.
  • The 27 year old was claimed in waivers at the end of 2016 from Seattle, barely pitched in 2017 as he worked his way back from injury, and then impressed in 2018. He was non-tendered in November, 2018, when the Rangers needed a roster spot, but signed a minor league deal, returned, started the season in the minors, was brought up to the majors before even appearing in a AAA game, and has been a solid part of the team’s pitching staff over the first two months of the season.
  • Today’s outing saw Sampson go 7 IP with 11 Ks, no walks, and a single run allowed, on a Jorge Soler home run. The 11 Ks are easily a career high, and he has lowered his ERA on the year to 4.14.
  • The biggest inning for Sampson — and what was probably the biggest inning of the game — was the top of the fifth. Nursing a 1-0 lead, Sampson allowed someone named Gallagher — presumably not the comedian, but who knows at this point — to single to lead off the inning. Terrence Gore and Billy Hamilton each followed that up with bunt singles, which meant that the bases were loaded and no one was out. A disaster seemed in the offing.
  • Sampson handled it, though. Unfazed by the bunt singles, he retired Whit Merrifield on a line out to third base, and then struck out Raul Mondesi Jr. and Alex Gordon to end the inning and prevent any runs from scoring.
  • With Shawn Kelley and Chris Martin having each pitched two days in a row, and Chris Woodward wanting to avoid going to Jose Leclerc, the Rangers needed Sampson to go deeper into the game than usual, and also needed contributions from some of the less-used parts of the pen. Jeffrey Springs was tapped for the 8th, and after retiring the first two batters, he issued a pair of walks. Shelby Miller was then brought in, and after giving up an infield hit, he got that Gallagher guy to fly out to center. Jesse Chavez came out for the 9th, and other than an infield two out single on a weak roller Elvis Andrus couldn’t barehand, handled it without a problem, continuing his streak of scoreless innings, which now stands at 18.1 IP.
  • Texas got on the board in the second when Hunter Pence, Asdrubal Cabrera and Ronald Guzman each singled. Two more runs scored in the bottom of the fifth when Shin-Soo Choo singled, Danny Santana doubled, and after an Elvis pop out, Choo scored on a wild pitch and Santana scored on a Nomar Mazara single.
  • The much maligned Rougned Odor gave the Rangers one of their insurance runs in the eighth, when he drove in Mazara and sent Cabrera to third on a double to left center. Cabrera then scored on a Jake Diekman wild pitch to give the Rangers their fifth and final run of the game.
  • Everyone had a hit today except for Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Santana, Guzman and Mazara each had two hit games.
  • Texas is now 3 games over .500, and gets an off day tomorrow. No Joey Gallo for a little while, but Texas is continuing to roll, and if Boston and the A’s both lose today, they’ll have a 2 game lead for the second Wild Card spot.