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Thoughts on a 4-1 Rangers loss

Astros 4, Rangers 1

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

Astros 4, Rangers 1

  • When the Rangers get back in the World Series, these sorts of games will make that all the sweeter.
  • Taylor Hearn made his third career start. You probably remember his first one. It was in Seattle in 2019, with Isiah Kiner-Falefa behind the plate (rather than Jeff Mathis, for whatever reason), and it was his first major league appearance, and he only recorded on out while allowing five runs (albeit just four earned) while allowing three hits and four walks. Hearn was then diagnosed with a shoulder issue and didn’t pitch again in 2019.
  • Incidentally, while Jeff Mathis did not catch Taylor Hearn in that game, he did make an appearance. Jeff Mathis pitched the 8th inning. He didn’t allow any runs.
  • Also pitching in that game was Jeanmar Gomez, who allowed five runs in 2 innings, which is about how I recall the Jeanmar Gomez Experience anyway.
  • Hearn’s second career start was earlier this year. It was against Oakland. Hearn didn’t make it out of the first inning that time, either, though he retired two batters rather than just one.
  • Career start number three went much better. This was a bullpen game, essentially, though apparently Hearn is going to be stretched out with a look towards having him tandem or something, who knows. Anyway, Hearn faced the minimum nine batters in three innings of work. He walked one batter, who was erased on a GIDP. He struck out three. He needed 41 pitches which, yeah, is a little more than you’d prefer a pitcher to need for nine batters, but we aren’t going to complain about it.
  • The decision to go with a bullpen game is interesting — it would normally be Dane Dunning’s turn in the rotation, and there are off days both Monday and Thursday, so your starters are going to get extra rest anyway. I do kind of wonder if this is basically a way to postpone making any real firm decisions about things going forward until after the trade deadline, which is 3:00 p.m. on Friday, July 30. A number of guys could be gone, either via trade, or because, well, the trade deadline has come and gone and we couldn’t deal you and you aren’t doing us much good on the active roster.
  • Fun fact...Brett Martin, who came in in relief of Hearn today to start the fourth inning, also reliever Hearn in his first start. I was hoping Martin also was the guy who came in for Hearn earlier this year against Oakland, but that was Brett de Geus, who you probably don’t remember was on the time for a while.
  • Brett Martin, Dennis Santana, and Joely Rodriguez each gave up a run in a combined 1.2 IP. Martin was okay, Santana and Joely each walked two batters and gave up a hit. Then Joe Barlow struck out the only batter he faced to end the sixth inning. Barlow has now pitched two days in a row and in three of the last four days, after having pitched only four times in his first month in the big leagues.
  • Spencer Patton, I wanted to talk about. Patton went two shutout innings today, striking out three batters and walking one. Signed out of Japan to a minor league deal, Patton had 11 scoreless appearances covering 12 innings for Round Rock to start the season, and for the Rangers he has struck out 24 batters and walked just four in 16.1 IP over 18 outings. Just about every player returning from Japan becomes a free agent at the end of their contract, and if that’s true for Patton, one has to think that he is one of the players who the Rangers are shopping right now.
  • I doubt that the Rangers are going to get any sort of meaningful return if they deal Patton, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they did move him, even if it is just for cash considerations. A deal to a contender gives Patton the chance to pitch in a playoff race, and the Rangers have a number of righthanders in AAA — Jharel Cotton and Luis Ortiz and Jimmy Herget and Joe Gatto and Drew Anderson — who are free agents after the season if they aren’t on the 40 man roster. Patton has exceeded expectations, but for the 2021 Rangers, a good veteran reliever who is a free agent after the season may not be as good a use of an active roster spot as one of the guys in Round Rock controllable beyond 2021 who may be worth an audition over the final month or two.
  • This is one of the areas where the 28 man September expansion hurts. If there’s 40 man rosters, you could bring several of those guys up and take a look at them and see if you think any of them might be devoting a 40 man spot to this offseason, or even a fatter than normal minor league NRI deal. With only two extra spots, though, you have to pick and choose.
  • As for the offense, well, Texas had more hits than Houston. By one. Five hits to four. So that was the highlight.
  • Oh, and Eli White homered. I think Eli White homers represent something like 93% of the runs scored by the Rangers since the All Star Break. I didn’t check the math though.
  • Velocity time. 97.9 mph max for Taylor Hearn today. Dennis Santana hit 96.9 mph. 969 is the symbol for a threesome where two of the partners are having oral sex and the third is rubbing backs with one of the pair, by the way. I bet you didn’t know that. Joe Barlow threw two fastballs today, one 93.0 mph and one 94.0 mph. Spencer Patton topped out at 94.5 mph. Brett Martin touched 94.3 mph with his four seamer.
  • Eli White’s home run was 108.1 mph. Nathaniel Lowe had a 107.1 mph exit velocity with one of his plate appearances, and it wasn’t his usual really hard hit worm burner, but a line drive (15% launch angle) that was caught, despite having a .640 expected batting average. Andy Ibanez and David Dahl had singles with EVs of 102.5 and 102.1 mph.
  • We are done with this nonsense until Tuesday.