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Thoughts on a 7-3 Rangers loss

Astros 7, Rangers 3

Texas Rangers v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Astros 7, Rangers 3

  • Another day, another loss.
  • Oh, Kolby Allard. Things started out so well for you. You retired six of the first eight batters you faced, three on strikeouts, allowing runners on a single and an E6 threw two scoreless.
  • And then...things went badly.
  • A single to lead off the third. A 6-4 FC for the first out. A Michael Brantley single. And then a four pitch walk to Yuli Gurriel to load the bases.
  • The Gurriel walk was, to me, the key at bat that inning. Two on, one out, a righthanded hitter who hits into a lot of double plays at the plate. A dangerous hitter, to be clear — Gurriel is slashing .313/.378/.467 on the year — but after Gurriel are Yordan Alvarez, Carlos Correa and Kyle Tucker. The Astros have quality hitters throughout their lineup.
  • Allard walked Gurriel on four pitches. Now, maybe the Rangers decided to pitch around the righthanded hitting Gurriel to face the lefthanded hitting Alvarez. I haven’t scanned the post-game quotes to see what Chris Woodward or anyone else has to say about that at bat and so maybe it turns out that was the strategy. But it seemed like Allard, whose command has to be sharp to succeed, just wasn’t making his pitches, with the result being he loaded the bases and removed any margin for error.
  • First pitch, Yordan Alvarez thumped a single to right center, though just one run scored, as the Astros opted not to challenge Joey Gallo’s arm. That proved to be a wise decision a batter later, when Carlos Correa hit a slow roller that was too weakly hit to turn a double play on, so instead of being out of the inning, it was a 5-4 fielder’s choice, and the second run of the inning scored.
  • Which brings us to Kyle Tucker. You know, the guy who was taken one pick after Dillon Tate in the 2015 MLB Draft, and thus will perpetually be a sore subject for Rangers fans. Allard got down 2-0, then Tucker fouled off six straight pitches. Finally, on the ninth pitch of the at bat, the 27th pitch of the inning, Tucker took a four seamer up in the zone out of the park.
  • It was the dreaded two out, three run home run, and at that point, I think we all felt it was church for the Rangers.
  • Allard allowed two more runs in the fourth. A single, a double, a comebacker that resulted in no outs, and a sac fly did the damage. That made it 7-0, though really, a 5-0 deficit and a 7-0 deficit feel pretty much the same at this point.
  • Final line for Allard: 4 IP, 7 hits, 7 runs, 1 walk, 5 Ks. 4.71 ERA on the year. Probably Allard’s worst outing of the year. Allard currently is sporting a 7.84 ERA in the month of July, with the big bugaboo for him being home runs — he has allowed six in 20.2 IP this month.
  • On the plus side the Rangers’ bullpen once again threw four scoreless innings, with Dennis Santana, Brett Martin, Demarcus Evans and Joely Rodriguez combined to keep the Astros off the board. The last time Demarcus Evans pitched in Houston he gave up a 10th inning walk off grand slam and didn’t retire anyone, so it is was good to see him have a clean outing. Granted, both of the outs off him were tagged by the Astros hitters, but hey, they were both outs.
  • The Rangers didn’t get shut out, and they had a multi-run inning, which at this point feels like an offensive explosion for the team. Nathaniel Lowe had a two RBI triple, which was the offensive highlight, so to speak. Isiah Kiner-Falefa had a pair of hits. Brock Holt doubled. Andy Ibanez had a single and a walk. Jonah Heim singled. David Dahl and Joey Gallo each walked.
  • Curtis Terry made his major league debut at DH Friday. He went 0 for 4 with a couple of strikeouts. There will probably be some more games like that going forward with Terry, who will likely have an adjustment period as he gets used to major league pitchers and major league strike zones.
  • Something to keep in mind...until 2019, Curtis Terry had never played in a full season league. Terry split 2019 between low-A and high-A. He had 269 plate appearances for Round Rock this year. He’s never played in AA. Including Friday night’s game against the Astros, Terry has 544 plate appearances in full season leagues. He’s moved up quickly, and it will not be surprising if he struggles with his first taste of big league pitching. Its part of the process, and if/when he struggles, the reaction needs to be patience, not panic.
  • Dennis Santana threw a 98.0 mph sinker for the Rangers yesterday. That’s really fast. Brett Martin hit 95.3 mph on his four seamer — interestingly, he threw six four seamers on Friday, compared to just one sinker. That’s not usually his pitch mix. Kolby Allard topped out at 92.9 mph on his four seamer. Joely Rodriguez touched 94.9 mph with his sinker. Demarcus Evans maxed out at 92.4 mph on his four seamer.
  • On our exit velocity chart, Nathaniel Lowe once again showed his commitment to killing worms, with a 104.6 mph exit velocity, -4 degree launch angle ground out that was the hardest hit ball by a Ranger on friday. His triple, at 103.3 mph (and 25 degree launch angle), was the second hardest hit ball of the day for the Rangers. When hitting the ball over 100 mph, 25 degree launch angles >>>>> negative launch angles. Isiah Kiner-Falefa had a single on a 100.8 mph exit velocity ball that also had a -4 degree launch angle. Joey Gallo had an at bat that resulted in a ball with a 100.4 mph exit velocity, which is good, but also a 53 degree launch angle, which is very bad.
  • At least the road trip will be over soon.