A quirk of the schedule put the Texas Rangers nearly a sixth of the way through the 2020 season without playing anyone from the Junior Circuit. That changed tonight when the Rangers finally got a look at an AL team and it happened to be one of those no good, dirty American League West rivals.
The Oakland Athletics had reason to play with a little extra pep in their step as vaunted top pitching prospect Jesus Luzardo was making his first career start after appearing in a handful of games between last year and this season.
Luzardo acclimated to the rotation pretty well as he didn’t allow a run in his five innings of work on just under 80 pitches.
Luzardo had a tough task to pick up a victory in his first career start as he was asked to duel with Lance Lynn and they just kept trading zeroes. By the time Luzardo exited, Lynn was still dealing and the Rangers were able to give their ace a run of support when Joey Gallo dropped down a two-out bunt and Todd Frazier slapped a run-scoring double into the left field corner to make it 1-0.
I was fairly annoyed that Gallo opted for a bunt with two outs as Gallo’s at-bats are precious and shouldn’t be wasted on paltry singles, especially when you’d need to follow them up with a rare Rangers extra base hit from someone other than Gallo to score him. But Gallo had more faith in Frazier than me and it paid off.
Unfortunately, one run wasn’t enough like it was on Opening Day as Lynn finally relented and gave up a game-tying solo home run to Matt Chapman in the bottom of the seventh.
Anyhow, because it’s 2020, the Rangers didn’t score another run all night and eventually lost on a walk-off Stephen Piscotty grand slam off Jesse Chavez after Edinson Volquez loaded the bases with nobody out in the ninth but, hey, at least they saved us from having to see the new extra innings anti-baseball nonsense.
Player of the Game: Lynn went 18 innings into the 2020 season without allowing a run before Chapman’s dinger ended Lynn’s bid for a spotless ERA.
Nevertheless, Lynn has been everything the Rangers could have hoped for and more since he signed two winters ago and tonight was no exception as Lynn finished his evening with a line of 6 2⁄3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K. If the Rangers could score runs, Lynn would have rightfully picked up a win tonight.
Up Next: The Rangers are back at it tomorrow against these A’s with Kyle Gibson looking for his first win with Texas against LHP Sean Manaea for Oakland. Wednesday’s first pitch is scheduled for 8:10 pm CT from Oakland Coliseum.