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Thoughts on a 7-4 Rangers win

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Rangers 7, Jays 4

Toronto Blue Jays v Texas Rangers Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

  • Welcome to Texas, Dane Dunning. The prize from the Lance Lynn trade made his Rangers debut today, the lead part of the tandem starter setup slotted into the fifth spot in the rotation. He gave up a home run to the third batter he faced, Bo Bichette, and then gave up a single to Teoscar Hernandez, creating a low level panic among Rangers fans everywhere that the one young pitcher the Rangers had picked up this offseason was going to let them down.
  • Dunning then retired Vlad Guerrero Jr. to end the inning. Dunning followed that up by allowing just one baserunner — Randal Grichuk in the second on a single — over the next four innings. Dunning was at just 70 pitches after five innings, but the team is being cautious with him in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery, and with Taylor Hearn lined up to pitched the second part of the tandem, Dunning was done after five innings.
  • Final line for Dunning: 5 IP, 3 hits, 0 walks, 1 run allowed, 6 Ks. A pretty impressive debut.
  • Taylor Hearn followed up Dunning with a pair of innings, one good, one shaky. Hearn had a 1-2-3 sixth inning, but created problems for himself in the 7th. With one out, Hearn walked Little Vlad, then gave up a single to Lourdes Gurriel. A wild pitch allowed the runners to advance to second and third before Hearn could retire Rowdy Tellez on strikes. With Grichuk up with two outs, Hearn unleashed another slider that catcher Jonah Heim couldn’t block, and though there appeared to be a chance to end the inning with a play at the plate, the toss from Heim to Hearn, covering home, wasn’t handled, giving the Jays their second run. Grichuk then singled home Gurriel for the second run assigned to Hearn’s ledger before Hearn finished off the inning.
  • At just 32 pitches, Hearn would seem to have had enough left in the tank to pitch the 8th, but after the adventures of the 7th, Chris Woodward asked Matt Bush to take over for the 8th inning. Bush allowed Bo Bichette to hit his second home run of the night but otherwise got out of the inning. Ian Kennedy then got the save with a quick and efficient 9th.
  • Overall a pretty decent performance for the beleaguered Texas Rangers pitching staff.
  • And hey, the bats backed them up! The Rangers have been talking about how they are a team that has to put together quality at bats, that they aren’t just going to mash a bunch of homers to score runs. And the Texas had four home runs today, accounting for six of the team’s seven runs on the game.
  • Two of those home runs were off the bat of Nate Lowe, who had a pair of two run shots to continue his red hot start. Lowe is also now up to 14 RBIs in the first 5 games of the season, and while we know RBIs are a dumb and goofy stat, that’s still pretty cool.
  • From a narrative standpoint it is worth noting that the Rangers won today largely on the strength of the team’s two significant young trade acquisitions from this past offseason.
  • Also contributing solo homers were Ronald Guzman, who had a rifle shot to right field, and Jonah Heim, who picked up his first career home run.
  • David Dahl and Nick Solak each had two hits tonight. Solak also stole second base and third base with two outs in the third, though was stranded at third base. The play at third was kind of close — closer than you’d like to see with two outs when you are stealing third — but hey, he was safe, so go on with your bad self.
  • Leody Taveras struck out two more times, but also got his first hit of the season. It was a weakly hit infield single, but hey, as bad as he’s been going at the plate, I’m sure he will take it. Better than seeing .000 next to your name of the scoreboard.
  • Brock Holt left the game after an eighth inning single after pulling up with some sort of leg thing. Hopefully it’s nothing serious, but if he’s going to be sidelined, Anderson Tejeda would need to come up to give the Rangers another infielder.
  • The 26 hardest thrown pitches of the night for the Rangers — and 26 of the 30 hardest thrown pitches of the game — were by Taylor Hearn, who had 24 pitches of at least 96 mph and topped out at 99.5 mph. Matt Bush hit 95.5 mph, while Ian Kennedy hit 94.9 mph. Dane Dunning’s highest velocity was 92.9 mph, and he generally sat around 91-92 during his stint.
  • Ronald Guzman’s home run was the hardest hit ball of the night for the Rangers, coming in at 112.0 mph. Nate Lowe’s homers checked in at 110.1 and 109.5. The other two Rangers balls in play to crack triple digits were off the bat at Nick Solak — he had 104.6 and 102.8 on his two singles.
  • That was a very nice win, and it made me feel good to watch it. I have warm fuzzies now.
  • Texas goes for the series win tomorrow afternoon, and also would get back to .500 with a W. That’s not too much to hope for, is it?