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Thoughts on an 8-3 Rangers win

Rangers 8, Rays 3

MLB: Texas Rangers at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers 8, Rays 3

  • That’s not how I was thinking things would go about a half hour in.
  • This was Kyle Gibson’s third start of the season, having gotten knocked out in the first inning on Opening Day and following it up with 6 shutout innings his second time out. Early on it seemed like we were going to have another bad Gibson outing, as he gave up the 1-0 lead he was staked to three batters into the game, with a one out Randy Arozarena HBP being followed by an RBI Joey Wendle double to make it 1-1.
  • After a Brandon Lowe strikeout, Yandy Diaz hit a bouncer that Nick Solak was moving back and to his left on, seemingly getting positioned to make a play, only to see the ball squirt by him, allowing Wendle to score. It looked bad, though the ball hit the crease between the dirt and the outfield, causing a lower hop than Solak expected. Still, he was charged with an error, and got pilloried on Twitter for being a bad defender who also wasn’t hitting, and maybe the Rangers should have kept Rougned Odor after all.
  • Gibson got a fly out to end the inning, but a two run bottom of the first was discouraging, given the recent struggles by the offense, and it seemed like we were looking at more of the same, with the likelihood of breaking a four game losing streak seemingly slim.
  • But Gibson turned things around after that first inning. He allowed just a pair of hits and a pair of walks the rest of the way, retiring 12 of the final 13 batters he faced, and shutting out the Rays over the final six innings of his outing.
  • Gibson’s final line: 7 IP, 2 runs (1 earned), 4 hits, 2 walks, 3 Ks. His ERA is now down to 4.05 — yes, he’s had two gems, but it takes a while to erase a 0.1 IP, 5 run outing.
  • By the time he left the game the Rangers were up comfortably and Chris Woodward could shift to “get guys work” mode, Brett Martin, in his second outing since coming off the injured list, gave up 1 run on 3 hits in an inning of work — the same thing he did his first outing. Kolby Allard then made his first appearance since April 1 in the ninth, striking out the side in what could be his final major league appearance for a while, given he seems likely to be the odd man out when Willie Calhoun is activated.
  • The Texas offense, after a fast start to the season, had scored a whopping six runs in the teams previous five games heading into today, including three shutouts, one of which was also a no hitter. The team at least got the goose egg off the board early tonight with a first inning run, courtesy of Joey Gallo, who singled in Isiah Kiner-Falefa with one out in the first. Cleanup hitter Jose Trevino (and that speaks volumes about this offense right now) followed that up with a single, setting the stage for a possible big inning (and let’s be real, a big inning right now would be two runs), but a David Dahl fielders choice and an Adolis Garcia strikeout squashed those hopes.
  • So, a run across in the first but an opportunity for more missed out on, followed by the lead given right back to Tampa in the bottom of the inning. Given how things have gone of late for Texas, despondency would inevitably have set in among Ranger fandom, a sense of doom, while thinking about the fact that the season isn’t even two weeks old and there’s like six more months of this left and god, why am I subjecting myself to this when I could be building a shed with my own hands like a man or critiquing the governments handling of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause or putting pictures on social media of poorly cooked brisket, what could possibly have led me to believe that devoting time following men in pajamas standing on pillows after hitting orbs with sticks was a good use of my time and energy, Father Time is undefeated and I’m watching my life slip away...
  • What was I talking about...
  • Oh.
  • The Rangers ended up scoring runs. And in that serendipitous way that is probably just random occurrence but seems like fate or destiny or the people running the simulation entering console commands, Nick Solak, he of the error and the slow start that has seen him get dropped in the order, came up with the bases loaded and no outs in the fourth, following singles from Jose Trevino, Nate Lowe and Adolis Garcia.
  • Solak took a strike and a ball, and then laced a line drive down the left field line, clearing the bases with a 3 RBI double. It gave the Rangers a lead, it gave Solak a positive mark in the box score, and for a brief moment made it seem like the world were not some hellscape filled with horrors and smelling of cat food and ass.
  • I made a joke on the Tweetbox yesterday about how we went from wondering how we were going to find enough at bats for Nate Lowe, Ronald Guzman, Willie Calhoun and Khris Davis to having Charlie Culberson as the team’s starting DH. My ironically detached witticism appears to have brought forth the ensuing offensive events of the night, “The Secret” style.
  • First, Charlie Culberson singled home Nick Solak to make it a 5-2 game. Okay.
  • Then, in the sixth, Eli White drew a two out walk. He went to second on an infield single by...brace yourselves...Charlie Culberson. That set the stage for White to score on a single by Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Culberson and IKF then executed a double steal, with Culberson safe at third by something less than a comfortable margin, and I’d rather not see attempted steals at third with two outs be that close, but when you’re Charlie Culberson and you’ve got a pair of hits before the seventh inning stretch, I guess you’re playing with house money.
  • 6-2 Rangers it is, or was, and continued to be, up to the top of the 8th. Nick Solak singled, and after an Eli White lineout went to second on a wild pitch. That scamper to second turned out to be wholly unnecessary, however, as Culberson, having fallen down in the count 1-2, fouled off a Trevor Richards fastball, and then yanked a change up down the line in left, sending it in the bleachers for a home run. Charlie Culberson, ladies and gentlemen, with his first home run since September, 2019!
  • It was quite exciting.
  • And really it was a good game all around for the offense. Everyone got a hit or a walk except for David Dahl. Joey Gallo picked up a pair of singles, including a looped shot into right center that seemed to fall exactly equidistant from like six fielders all positioned in the area. That was fun.
  • Pitchers velocity on the night? It was not a night of fireballing. Brett Martin had the hardest thrown pitch for either team, at 94.7 mph. Kyle Gibson hit 94.4, while Kolby Allard topped out at 92.7.
  • Joey Gallo and Nick Solak each had 109.3 mph singles tonight, and Solak’s double was 105.3. Those were the only instances of Rangers hitting triple digit exit velocities, though the Culb was 99.1 and 98.6 on his double and home run, respectively.
  • A win. A good win. Runs scoring, pitchers pitching not badly, happiness in the air. It was a good game. Let us rejoice.