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Thoughts on a 6-4 Rangers win

Rangers 6, Angels 4

Texas Rangers v Los Angeles Angels Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

Rangers 6, Angels 4

  • Admit it — you thought the Rangers were going to lose, didn’t you?
  • Not necessarily early on...not when the Rangers scratched out an early run to give Kohei Arihara a lead. Not even when Arihara was falling behind hitters and getting to three ball counts.
  • But in the seventh inning...when the Rangers had a 6-0 lead, and the Angels started to score runs, and things seemed to be falling felt deep down in your heart of hearts that the Rangers were going to blow this one, didn’t you?
  • It certainly seemed that way. It seemed like Texas was going to disappoint another starter who put up a strong performance. Kohei Arihara was lifted for Brett Martin with two outs in the sixth, and the Rangers up at that point 6-0. He had faced the minimum through five, having allowed a single and a walk, both of which ended up erased on double plays. With two outs in the 6th, after walking Luis Rengifo and allowing a hit to David Fletcher, Arihara was lifted for the lefty Brett Martin. Shohei Ohtani was due up, and his last time at the plate had hit a blast to center that prompted him to toss his bat towards the dugout, apparently in anticipation of it being a home run. Adolis Garcia made a leaping grab at the wall, however — and really, it might not have cleared the wall anyway. But regardless, rather than tempt fate by having Arihara face Ohtani again, Martin was brought in and struck Ohtani out swinging.
  • Arihara threw 77 pitches yesterday, and the reluctance to push him too deep — he threw 73 pitches in his first two outings, and then 85 pitches in Tampa his last time out — has me wondering if he’s not someone who should be in a tandem starter role, at least the way the Rangers have been doing it. If you’re going to have the front end of your tandem starters go 70-80 pitches, as the Rangers have been doing, and limit the second leg to 30-40 pitches, then maybe you would watch to have whoever the second leg for Dane Dunning is also be paired up with Arihara.
  • Arihara throws a bunch of pitches — he threw 7 different pitches in the first inning — so this seems less about Arihara not having the repertoire to face hitters more than twice than it is about being careful with him as he moves into a five man rotation, rather than the six man rotation used in Japan. Or maybe they do have concerns about him facing a lineup three times. I don’t know.
  • In any case, the Rangers seemed poised to blow the lead in the seventh. Martin got Mike Trout to ground out to lead off the inning, but then was taken deep by Justin Upton, with Jared Walsh following that up with a double. Chris Woodward brought in Kyle Cody, and things immediately got worse...Albert Pujols, who probably shouldn’t be on a major league roster anymore, single in Walsh, Jose Iglesias singled, and then there was a double stel putting runners on second and third. A Kurt Suzuki single brought home Pujols, then a wild pitch brought home Iglesias, meaning it was now 6-4 with a runner on second and the Angels having logged five straight hits. It had disaster written all over it.
  • But disaster didn’t strike. Fate spared the Rangers. Rengifo struck out, Fletcher flew out, and the inning was over. Joely Rodriguez had a 1-2-3 inning with a pair of Ks in the 8th, Ian Kennedy logged a scoreless ninth (albeit not before allowing a pair of two out singles), and the Rangers were victorious.
  • Adolis Garcia put the Rangers on the board initially with an opposite field home run to lead off the third, part of a 2 for 4 day at the plate. I’m still an Adolis skeptic — I am not sure he’ll get on base enough or make enough contact — but he can mash the ball.
  • Texas busted it open against Angels starter Dylan Bundy in the sixth. Joey Gallo got his daily walk to lead off the inning, and that was followed up by three singles from Nate Lowe, Nick Solak and Willie Calhoun, chasing Bundy. Jose Trevino brought home Solak on a sac fly to make it 4-0, Adolis Garcia reached on an error that brought home a run and made it 5-0, and then a wild pitch and Brock Holt single resulted in the final run. It was a big crooked in the middle innings and those are fun.
  • The Rangers didn’t get a hit after the Holt single, but that’s okay.
  • Nate Lowe also had a couple of hits today, including a double. On the flip side, Isiah Kiner-Falefa went 0 for 5, and is now slashing .203/.247/.319. He’s slumped badly here lately.
  • Kyle Cody’s 96.4 mph 7th inning four seamer was the hardest thrown pitch of the night in this game. Joely Rodriguez hit 95.2 mph, Brett Martin had a 94.2 mph sinker, Ian Kennedy had a 94.1 mph four seamer, and Kohei Arihara topped out at 93.9. Each of them maxed out at a velocity higher than any Angels pitcher last night.
  • Joey Gallo just barely missed the triple digit exit velocity club for last night’s game, having a 99.9 mph ground out. Instead it was just Nate Lowe and Adolis Garcia — Lowe had a 108.6 mph lineout and a 102.2 mph double, while Garcia was at 104.7 mph on his double and 103.1 mph on his home run.
  • Texas can get back to .500 with a win tonight. Are they favored? Hell no. But they weren’t last night, either. Maybe they can make it three in a row this evening.