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Thoughts on a 7-5 Rangers loss

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Twins 7, Rangers 5

Minnesota Twins v Texas Rangers Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Twins 7, Rangers 5

  • That was a disappointing loss.
  • Again, as has been the theme for much of this season, its a loss that would have been much more upsetting if this was a team that was actually supposed to be good, or that had a chance of contending. This is one of those games where, in that scenario, I’d be fretting how this was one of those games that could be the difference at the end of the year, a winnable game slipping away.
  • Instead, well, it just means its that much more likely the Rangers have a better draft pick next year.
  • Mike Foltynewicz got into a hole early on, starting the game walk-single-walk-single. The second single was a broken bat blooper from Nelson Cruz on an 0-2 pitch, and you immediately started seeing the frustration from Foltynewicz. One of the things that has been talked about in recent starts, both on the broadcast and by the beat guys on Twitter, is the obvious way Foltynewicz reacts on the mound when things are going bad. I’m not a big body language guy, and I don’t tend to worry about those things, but it is so obvious with Foltynewicz it makes you wonder how well positioned he’s going to right the ship when things are struggling.
  • The Twins got a run home on a Max Kepler fielder’s choice that left runners on first and third to make it 2-0. Ryan Jeffers, who I thought was a Cowboys wide receiver but apparently is someone on the Twins, followed that up with a weak roller down the first base line. Foltynewicz fielded it, but because he let his momentum carry him forward, he was in the baseline when he went to make the throw, didn’t have a clear line, and threw it over Nate Lowe’s head for an error, making it 3-0.
  • An Alex Kiriloff GIDP ended the inning, and Folty then put up three more scoreless innings. He was close to 80 pitches after four innings, and with a nine man bullpen and there having been offdays on Monday and Thursday this week, I figured it made since to get Foltynewicz out of the game. Chris Woodward disagreed, and Folty gave up a two out home run to Trevor Larnach in the top of the fifth.
  • Final line for Foltynewicz was 5 IP, 4 runs on 2 walks and 6 hits with 4 Ks. He now has a 5.59 ERA. There’s inevitably the question after one of his mediocre outings about why the Rangers keep running him out there, and the reality is that they keep running him out there because they don’t have better options right now. The same is true of Jordan Lyles. Wes Benjamin’s command has disappeared so he isn’t a legitimate option, Brock Burke and Joe Palumbo aren’t pitching well in AAA (and Palumbo is on the injured list), Kohei Arihara probably isn’t back this season, Taylor Hearn isn’t doing all that great in a relief role. Jason Bahr has been awful for Round Rock. Maybe Shaun Anderson or Dennis Santana can be worth a look at some point, though I wouldn’t count on it. Maybe Jake Latz warrants a major league look later in the year.
  • But Folty isn’t going anywhere in large part because, as Evan Grant noted last night on Twitter, the Rangers need a placeholder in the rotation, and they’d rather him be up here getting knocked around than a minor league who isn’t ready. And no, Cole Winn won’t be up this year, so don’t ask.
  • The Rangers got solid work in innings six through nine from their relief corps, with Brett Martin, Spencer Patton, Joely Rodriguez and Ian Kennedy each throwing a shutout inning and each striking out a batter.
  • Kennedy did have some good fortune that helped keep his ninth inning scoreless. After a leadoff single by that Jeffers guy, Kirilloff hit a grounder to Nate Lowe. Lowe got the lead runner at second, but the throw back to first was high. Kirilloff, after running through the bag, immediately turned and ran towards second, but the errant throw was quickly retrieved by Nick Solak, who threw to Isiah Kiner-Falefa to nail Kirilloff trying to advance. Kirilloff otherwise would have likely scored on the Nick Gordon double that followed.
  • The tenth inning went very badly for the Rangers. Josh Sborz was asked to pitch the tenth, and he hasn’t been good lately, you may have noticed. He immediately allowed a triple to bring home the zombie runner and put Minnesota up 5-4. He walked Jorge Polanco, then struck out Trevor Larnach, though Polanco went to second on a stolen base. Nelson Cruz was intentionally walked, then Kepler struck out. Sborz got down 2-0 to that Jeffers guy, got a foul and then a called strike, then missed the zone with a slider down and a four seamer up to walk in the go ahead run.
  • Demarcus Evans then came into the game, got down 3-0 to Kirilloff, worked it to 3-2, then lost him on a slider to make it 7-5. Evans then struck out Gordon swinging.
  • So in the Twins’ tenth, there was a zombie runner that scored, only one ball in play, three runs that came across, four walks, and three strikeouts. 2021 baseball, y’all.
  • The Rangers’ bats were okay today. They scored a pair in the first when Isiah Kiner-Falefa led off with a walk and then, after a pair of outs, Joey Gallo walked, Nick Solak singled, and Willie Calhoun singled. That at least reduced the hole they started the game in.
  • Texas scored again in the fourth, when Eli White and Brock Holt singled and Jose Trevino hit a sac fly. Adolis Garcia broke his recent homerless streak with a bomb in the seventh to tie the game.
  • Texas had a chance to tie it in the tenth. Nate Lowe started the inning at second and went to third on a ground out before scoring on a Joey Gallo single. Nick Solak then singled, putting two on with one out, with the Rangers down two. Willie Calhoun flew out, however, and Eli White struck out, ending the game.
  • It was frustrating. I would have preferred a win.
  • Everyone in the starting lineup for the Rangers had a hit except for Jose Trevino, who went 0 for 2 with a sac fly before being lifted for Jason Martin, who pinch hit in the ninth and struck out. Solak had a pair of hits. Joey Gallo drew the Rangers’ only two walks of the game to go along with his single.
  • Josh Sborz threw a pair of 97.2 mph fastballs. Mike Foltynewicz hit 96.1 mph with his two seamer. Ian Kennedy touched 94.9 mph with a fastball. Joely Rodriguez maxed out his sinker at 94.5 mph. Spencer Patton had a 94.4 mph four seamer. Demarcus Evans topped out at 91.9 mph with a pair of four seamers. Brett Martin reached 91.1 mph with his sinker.
  • Nate Lowe continued his recent trend of hitting the ball really hard but not in the air, as he had a 109.2 mph groundout with a 1 degree launch angle, a 101.6 mph groundout with a 4 degree launch angle, and a 103.6 mph single with a -3 degree launch angle. Jose Trevino’s sac fly was 102.3 mph, and Adolis Garcia’s home run was 100.8 mph.
  • The box score shows the Lowe single as an infield single, but it is an infield single just because it hit Berrios and stayed in the infield. It wasn’t one of those slow rollers that dies in the infield type infield singles.
  • On we go to another game.