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Thoughts on a 4-3 Rangers win

Rangers 4, Twins 3

Texas Rangers v Minnesota Twins Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Rangers 4, Twins 3

  • Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Rangers got down early, then rallied late while getting quality work from the bullpen to secure a come-from-behind win.
  • Jordan Lyles got the start today and was...not too bad, really. He wasn’t good...but he was sufficiently adequate to keep the Rangers in the game.
  • When Max Kepler led off the bottom of the first with a home run, I braced myself for one of those ugly outings with five runs and a reliever coming into the game with two outs in the third, but things never got quite that bad. They could have...the Twins got a baserunner on in each inning against Lyles, and pushed two more across in the third on a one out Willians Astudillo single, but Lyles did whiff seven batters and managed to escape after five without excessive damage.
  • The 7 hit, 2 walk, 3 run, 5 IP outing lowered Lyles’ ERA on the season to 7.09.
  • Instead of doing the tandem starter bit, Chris Woodward turned to Brett de Geus, a regular non-tandemy relief pitcher, when he pulled Lyles. De Geus threw two scoreless and then gave way to sometimes tandem starter, lately more of a regular middle reliever Taylor Hearn, who also threw two scoreless innings.
  • De Geus and Hearn being able to give the Rangers quality innings in what ended up being a ten inning game is pretty significant. After pitching the previous two days, I think Joely Rodriguez and Ian Kennedy were expected to be unavailable today. While the Rangers have had success when relying on their most trusted relievers — those two, along with Brett Martin — in the late innings, the soft underbelly of the pen has too often been exposed. That soft underbelly has included de Geus and Hearn, who came into today’s game with ERAs starting with a 6. Both acquitted themselves well today, though.
  • Who is the closer of Kennedy and Rodriguez aren’t available? Josh Sborz, apparently. Sborz was summoned for the 10th inning with Texas up 4-3, and despite the specter (get it? specter?) of the ghost runner on second, he threw a shutout 10th, fanning the first two batters before getting a huge diving catch from Joey Gallo in right field for the final out of the game.
  • For de Geus, a Rule 5 pick from the Los Angeles Dodgers, it was his first career win. For Sborz, acquired by the Rangers after being DFA’d by the Dodgers, it was his first career save.
  • I’m curious about whether Brett Martin was available. He pitched yesterday, but hasn’t thrown on back to back days yet this season. I’m wondering if there’s an issue that has Chris Woodward not using him two days in a row.
  • Joey Gallo is putting to rest the concerns about his lack of home runs early on. Gallo homered to lead off the second for his fourth homer in of the year and his second in his last four games. Gallo had a ball hit to dead center either yesterday or the day before that looked like it was gone but which died at the wall and was caught, apparently with the wind blowing in. In any case, the homers appear to be back.
  • Isiah Kiner-Falefa was 2 for 3 with a walk today, and one of those two was an RBI single, also in the second, to bring home Adolis Garcia, who had doubled.
  • Nothing much happened with the Rangers bats after that until the seventh, when Jonah Heim, who has not had a good start to the season offensively, tied the score at three with a home run off of Hansel Robles.
  • Things were then largely quiet again for the Rangers until the tenth, although I did find it noteworthy that Chris Woodward sent Andy Ibanez up to hit for David Dahl against a lefty in the ninth. Ibanez also hit for Dahl against Taylor Rogers yesterday, and I’m wondering if Dahl is being moved to more of a platoon role, particularly with Khris Davis likely returning in the next couple of days.
  • Willie Calhoun was the hero in the tenth, singling home ghost runner Heim for what ended up being the winning run. Willie was 2 for 4 with a walk today, and has done nothing but hit since coming off the injured list.
  • Josh Sborz topped the radar gun readings today, maxing out at 98.2. Taylor Hearn reached 97.4 mph on his fastball. Brett de Geus topped out at 94.9 mph on his sinker, while Jordan Lyles reached 94.3 on his four seamer.
  • On the Ranger home runs, Joey Gallo had a 107.8 mph exit velocity while Jonah Heim’s was 105.8 mph. Nick Solak had the high EV today at 110.5 mph, though it was on a first inning ground out. Solak also had a 103.2 mph GIDP in the 10th and a 107.0 mph lineout in the third. All of those balls had an expected batting average over .600, so that’s some exceptionally bad luck for Solak. Willie Calhoun had a 102.4 mph lineout to go with his 103.4 mph 10th inning game winning hit. David Dahl hit 100.7 on a lineout.
  • One game under .500. The Rangers have been one game under .500 several times this season, and only won that game once so far. Back at home against the hated M’s tomorrow night, hopefully Texas can make it four in a row and get to the .500 mark.