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Thoughts on a 6-1 Rangers win

Rangers 6, Astros 1

Houston Astros v Texas Rangers Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Rangers 6, Astros 1

  • Its much easier to do “Thoughts” posts for earlier start games.
  • Its also much easier to do “Thoughts” posts after wins. I prefer writing about good things, and it is much less of a chore to talk about the game after a win.
  • Kyle Gibson went six scoreless innings today. It was the second time in his last three starts that he didn’t allow a run. Of course in that other start he allowed 8 runs in 4 innings, which kind of offsets to a degree the two scoreless starts, but hey, Gibson ends the season on a high note.
  • Gibson allowed six hits, walked just one, struck out four, and needed just 81 pitches to work those six innings.
  • Gibson ends the year with a 5.35 ERA. That would have been not great last year, with TBiA as the home park. This year, with offense down around the league and the Rangers home park playing particularly pitcher-friendly, it’s really disappointing. Gibson is, I suspect, better than we saw this year, and one has to hope we see improvement in the results in 2021.
  • The Rangers were 3-9 in Gibson’s starts. That’s an ugly line, but today was only the fourth time the Rangers scored five or more runs for him. Texas scores three or fewer runs for Gibson seven times this year, which isn’t conducive to winning a lot of games.
  • The lone run of the game was given up by Jimmy Herget in the seventh. I was surprised to see he came into the game with an ERA starting with a 2, though it is now 3.20 after giving up a run in an inning of work. He has 14 walks against 18 Ks in 19+ innings of work, but has been helped by a .212 BABIP and a strand rate near 90%. I’d be surprised if he made it to spring training on the 40 man roster, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Rangers non-tendered him and looked to re-sign him to a minor league deal.
  • Demarcus Evans, Mississippi Mean, likely finished out his first season in the majors (I’m not calling it his rookie year since he still has rookie eligibility remaining) today. He retired Jose Altuve on a ground out, got Alex Bregman swinging, and induced a fly out from Kyle Tucker, so it isn’t like he shut down a bunch of scrubs today, either. Having gotten his feet wet this September, Evans will go to spring training with a legit chance to make the 2021 Opening Day roster, and the brief look we have gotten is enough to make me want to see more from him.
  • Jesse Chavez pitched the ninth. This could have been his final major league appearance — the 37 year old had a bad 2020 after an up-and-down 2019, and I don’t know if he gets more than a minor league offer for 2021. It’s crazy to think that he was part of Grady Fuson’s first draft class with the Rangers, and was dealt for Kip Wells in 2006, when the Rangers were buyers at the deadline in a year when they sent John Koronka our as their starter 23 times, as well as getting double digit starts from Adam Eaton, Kam Loe, and Robinson Tejeda. Oh, and 8 starts from a rookie by the name of Edinson Volquez.
  • Chavez looked like he was going to have a run on his ledger tonight. With two outs and a runner on, someone named Dustin Garneau lifting a high fly to left field that looked like it would be at least extra bases, possibly a home run. Nick Solak, not known for his defensive chops, headed to the wall, and made a terrific leaping catch to end the ball game. It’s possibly the best play Solak has made in the outfield, and was a legitimately great play.
  • While the final score was 6-1, it was a pitchers duel most of the game. The Rangers didn’t get on the board until the sixth, when a Willie Calhoun single, a Joey Gallo single, and a Nick Solak single put Texas on the board.
  • The Rangers hadn’t really threatened prior to that point, and so the activity in the seventh inning came seemingly out of nowhere. Anderson Tejeda singled to lead off the inning, and Ronald Guzman followed with a walk. Jeff Mathis was up next, and had the bunt sign on initially, but after getting up 3-0, he pulled back and took strike one, and bunted foul for strike two. With the count full, having failed to get the bunt down, Mathis swung away, and parked a Brandon Bielek four seamer into the left field seats for a 3 run home run.
  • I tweeted about how great it would be if Mathis’s final major league at bat was a go ahead three run home run, but then he got another at bat in this game. Also Evan Grant says Mathis may be back next year to back up Jose Trevino, which I’m sure would thrill everyone here.
  • Leody Taveras followed Mathis up with a home run. That’s four home runs in 129 plate appearances for Leody, who is now slashing .228/.313/.404 on the year. The hope for Leody this year, I think, was that he would play quality defense in CF and not drown at the plate. I think it is fair to say he has exceeded expectations.
  • Incidentally, coming into today, Leody had a +5 in DRS, but a -2 in UZR. Im thinking the DRS number is more accurate.
  • The Rangers picked up another run in the seventh when Rougned Odor singled home Willie Calhoun, who had gotten on with a hit and moved to second on a Nick Solak infield single.
  • Every Ranger starter got a hit today except for Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Ronald Guzman. And even Guzman had two walks. Willie Calhoun and Joey Gallo each had a pair of hits, and Nick Solak had three hits and a walk.
  • Anderson Tejeda had the hardest hit ball of the night, at 108.9 on a single. Rougned Odor had a 104.3 EV on a ball that went 407 feet to dead center, but was caught for an out. Jeff Mathis’s home run was 100 mph, but it wasn’t even the hardest hit ball he had today — he had a line out that was 101.1. Isiah Kiner-Falefa had a fly out at 100.1. Nick Solak had a 103.0 mph single, Willie Calhoun had a single at 102.1, and Joey Gallo had a single at 101.6.
  • Jimmy Herget topped the velocity chart for the Rangers today, hitting 95.1 with a four seamer. Demarcus Evans hit 93.9 mph with a four seamer, and also had five more four seamers between 93.4 and 93.7. Kyle Gibson topped out at 93.6, and generally was around 92-93 all game.
  • The season finale is tomorrow. Let’s enjoy it.