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Thoughts on a 7-3 Rangers win

Rangers 7, M’s 3

MLB: Texas Rangers at Seattle Mariners Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers 7, Mariners 3

  • Well looky there. The Rangers won another game on the road. In Seattle, no less.
  • Though, yeah, I know Seattle isn’t really that good a team. Beggars, choosers, etc.
  • And not only did they win a game on the road, they did so behind a Quality Start from the much-maligned Jordan Lyles (and yes, I acknowledge I’m one of those who has been maligning Jordan Lyles). Lyles allowed just a pair of runs in six innings, striking out six and walking two. His ERA on the year is down to 4.98 now.
  • Lyles threw 124 pitches. That’s a lot. Its a lot for any starting pitcher to throw in any game, but in particular, its a lot of pitches to go six innings. Lyles was at 102 pitches after five innings, and retired the side in order, but on 22 pitches. I doubt the plate was to have Lyles hit the 120 pitch market when he started the fifth, but a ten pitch strikeout to Tom Murphy to end the inning would appear to have changed those plans.
  • Lyles’ 124 pitch outing is the second most by a pitcher in baseball this year, trailing only Trevor Bauer’s 126 pitch outing against San Francisco in May. For that matter, only ten times has a pitcher gone at least 115 pitches this year, with Bauer doing it three times and Shane Bieber twice. Lance Lynn, of course, has one of the outings as well.
  • I hesitate to say it out loud, but over the last couple of months, Jordan Lyles has actually been good. Lyles has a 3.90 ERA in 62.1 IP over his last eleven starts, dating back to early May. Lyles has a 4.98 ERA on the year, and has limited the opposition to three runs or fewer in thirteen of his seventeen outings.
  • By the time Lyles left the game after six the Rangers had scored all seven of their runs, and thus the bullpen’s job after Lyles left was not to let things blow up. Dennis Santana needed nine pitches to retire all three batters in his Rangers debut in the seventh, Joe Barlow allowed a run in the eighth, and Josh Sborz threw a scoreless ninth. So they did their job.
  • The Rangers runs came in a two inning cluster, with four runs scoring in the third and three runs scoring in the fourth, five of those seven runs coming from unlikely sources — John Hicks hitting a pair of solo home runs, and Eli White hitting a three run home run. Hicks, if you are keeping track at home, has now homered three times as a Ranger, despite playing in only two games.
  • It is worth noting that Hicks has some pop — he had thirteen home runs in 333 plate appearances in 2019 for Detroit, and 28 in all for the Tigers in 837 plate appearances for them from 2016 to 2019. Still, this is not expected output.
  • As for Eli White, this is his fourth homer since being brought back up in early June, and also the fourth home run of his major league career. He’s never had much power — he was a hit-over-power guy throughout his career, cracking double digits only in the 2019 season, when he had 14 home runs for Nashville. Even in college, playing with aluminum bats, he had just eight career home runs in three seasons.
  • And yet, White clocked three home runs for Round Rock in 80 plate appearances, and now has four home runs in 21 games in the majors since being brought back up.
  • Is this a random power surge? Run of the mill fluctuation? A glitch in the matrix? Or is this Eli White, 15-20 home run per year guy?
  • (I don’t know the answer, the above question was rhetorical)
  • Eli White also had two walks yesterday, bringing his season slash line to .212/.288/.348. That’s not good, but considering what his slash line in the majors was sitting at when the Rangers called him back up a month ago, that’s kind of remarkable.
  • Charlie Culberson and Adolis Garcia were the other two guys, along with Hicks, who had a pair of hits apiece for the Rangers in their win, in case you are interested.
  • Dennis Santana had the high velocity for a Rangers pitcher, at 97.7 mph on a sinker. Josh Sborz touched 96.3 mph with his four seamer, and Joe Barlow hit 96.1 mph. Poor Jordan Lyles was lagging behind the rest, hitting just 96.0 mph.
  • Adolis Garcia’s two hits on the day had a 107.7 mph exit velocity and a 105.0 mph exit velocity. He also had a 100.9 mph flyout. John Hicks registered 104.1 and 103.8 on his home runs, and he threw in a 98.7 mph groundout for good measure. Eli White’s home run was 107.5 mph, and Charlie Culberson had a 101.4 mph single.
  • The Rangers have now guaranteed themselves no worse than a split on the road trip, and have the opportunity to take the series in Seattle with a win on Sunday. That would be a nice way to celebrate Independence Day, don’t you think?