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Thoughts on a 14-10 Rangers loss

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Royals 14, Rangers 10

MLB: Texas Rangers at Kansas City Royals Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Royals 14, Rangers 10

  • I was steeling myself for a dull, boring, uneventful game today where the Texas Rangers offense was non-existent and the team lost by like 5-1 or something like that. Say what you will about today’s game, at least it was interesting.
  • The Rangers have 14 pitchers on their roster currently. Half of them pitched today. 5 of them gave up runs.
  • The two pitchers who had scoreless outings were Josh Sborz, who walked one and struck out two in 1.1 IP, and John King, who threw a scoreless inning. Everyone else who pitched for the Rangers today was bad.
  • Kyle Gibson started, had really awful command, and ended up facing only 8 batters before being pulled in favor of Taylor Hearn. Hearn was thought to be part of the tandem starter setup, but since there’s an off day tomorrow the second tandem starting spot in the rotation will be set up so either Hearn or King could fill part of the tandem starting role with four days rest. So its like there was a tandem start today, kind of. Only not in a good way.
  • Taylor Hearn went 2.1 IP, gave up 4 hits, including a homer, struck out 2 and walked 1. He was relieved by Kyle Cody, who was saddled with a loss and blown save. Like Gibson, he faced 8 batters, and he allowed 4 hits and a walk, including a home run. It was a bad game for Kyle Cody.
  • Brett de Geus made his major league debut in the 7th inning. His major league career started with a pair of walks, and then a pair of HBPs. He got four grounders after that, but one was an infield single, which meant that he got saddled with three runs on the day.
  • Finally, there was Kolby Allard, who made the team because, well, someone had to be the 26th man, and he’s on the 40 man roster already, to mop up in the 8th inning. The first pitch he threw was a changeup to Whit Merrifield that was tattooed into the left field bleachers. Though there were no more runs in the 8th, there was a runner who reached on an Isiah Kiner-Falefa throwing error, and a runner who advanced after a single on a Leody Taveras throwing error.
  • Jose Trevino also was charged with an error, due to a two strike catcher’s interference call. That’s arguably the Rangers’ three best defensive players, all charged with errors today. It was that kind of game.
  • But! If we just ignore when the Royals were batting, things were kind of good, actually!
  • The Rangers’ first 7 batters of the game all reached, and John Blake said that the Rangers’ first 6 official at bats of the season ending in hits was some sort of record. I don’t know if he said he had never happened before, or if it hadn’t happened since 1914 when the New Amsterdam Tootie Frooties did it in front of a raucous crowd of 713 fans who came out to see them open the season against the Worcester Humdingers in the old Federal League, when Hezekiah “Corn Dog” McGinty famously tripled in his final at bat before retiring due to a bad flare-up of his scarlet rubella.
  • It could have been more than 5 runs in the first, potentially, as Brock Holt tried to score from second for what would have been the sixth run, but was thrown out for the second out. The replay showed that maybe he got in before the tag, just barely, but maybe didn’t, and there was speculation in the booth that perhaps Chris Woodward would challenge the play. But he didn’t, and IKF grounded out to end the inning, and things kind of went sideways after that.
  • The Rangers score another run in the second, and then two more in the third, though they had another runner thrown out at home in the third inning. I thought the decision to send Holt was a bit iffy, given there was just one out, but the decision to send David Dahl from third with two outs after Nate Lowe flied to medium-deep center was reasonable, even though he was thrown out by a wide margin. With two outs, your breakeven point in deciding whether to send the runner is about 30-35%.
  • The bats slumbered again for much of the rest of the game, though they got the tying run up in the form of Leody Taveras (spoiler alert — he did not have a good game) in the 8th inning with the bases loaded and two out in a 13-9 game. Leody went down on three pitches in what was...I was going to say one of the worst at bats I’ve seen from him, but honestly, I have a hard time recalling specific at bats of his last year, and so he’s probably had one that bad I’ve forgotten about. But he had a ball up and in carom off his bat for a foul on the first pitch, watched a curve for strike two, and then flailed helplessly at a curve down for strike three, ending the threat.
  • The Rangers also rallied in the 9th, getting the tying run in the on deck circle before falling short.
  • But regardless, Texas scored 10 runs and had 15 hits and 9 walks, so the offense had a good day. And given that this is a season where we are concerned about seeing progress and trying not to focus (or, really, think about if we don’t have to) the won-loss record, seeing hitters mash was good and encouraging.
  • Everyone had a hit today except for Leody, who was 0 for 5 with 4 Ks. He appeared to have drawn a walk in his next-to-last plate appearance, when he took a 3-1 pitch with two on and two out that appeared to be pretty clearly out of the zone, but it was called a strike. He then got caught staring at a fastball down the middle for strike three. It was a bad game for him.
  • David Dahl went 3 for 5 with a walk, his second straight Opening Day game with three hits. Jose Trevino also had three hits. Joey Gallo had two hits and three walks, Eli White had two hits and a walk, Nate Lowe had two hits, Isiah Kiner-Falefa had a double and a walk, and Brock Holt had a hit and three walks.
  • The 18 hardest thrown pitches of the game were by Carlos Hernandez, who had a pair of 99.9s, a 100.0, and a 100.4. He’s a Royal, not a Ranger, but I figured I’d mention it anyway.
  • Top velocity for a Ranger was Kyle Cody, who hit 96.9 with a sinker, and also hit 96.8 three times. Taylor Hearn had a 96.8 4 seamer as his fastest pitch. Josh Sborz hit 96.1, and Kolby Allard...what the fuck, Kolby Allard threw a 95 mph fastball to Hanser Alberto? That can’t be right, can it? He also had a couple of 94.6 mph pitches. I don’t know what that’s all about.
  • I tweeted in the second inning that the Rangers already had four balls in play with exit velocities of at least 100 mph. They didn’t do that again the rest of the game, so there you go, rock solid proof that you shouldn’t talk about things on Twitter, or really interact with anyone ever.
  • David Dahl was the high man among the Rangers in EV with 107.7 mph on a first inning double that hit the top of the wall and barely missed being a home run. IKF had a 105.6 mph first inning double, Nate Lowe had a 104.9 mph single, and Eli White had a 101.2 mph single. Jose Trevino barely missed triple digits, registering 99.8 on a third inning single, and Joey Gallo had a 94.9 mph single and, hilariously, a 98.7 mph pop out.
  • So its a loss, and I’d probably be mad or irritated about this game if I hadn’t resigned myself to this being a bad year from a wins and losses standpoint months ago. There were good things from just about every hitter and bad things from just about every pitcher, and probably next time out we’ll see good things from just about every pitcher and bad things from just about every hitter.