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Thoughts on a 4-3 Rangers win

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Rangers 4, M’s 3

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Texas Rangers Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers 4, M’s 3

  • It was Heim time again.
  • I saw Chris Woodward’s lineup with Jonah Heim in the lineup again, today at DH, and kind of rolled my eyes...I like Heim, and think he has a future as a major league catcher, but he didn’t, I think, need to be in the lineup at DH, walk off home run on Saturday or no.
  • Shows you what I know.
  • We got the standard Mike Foltynewicz Experience today, completed with command issues, loud contact, slumped shoulders, stomping around, pouting, and a somewhat early exit.
  • The wrinkle this time, though, was that he left with the Rangers still in the game. Foltynewicz went five innings, walked three guys, only struck out one, allowed six balls with an exit velocity of 100+ and another two over 98 mph, and yet he allowed just two runs. He was helped by a one out, bases loaded, had just walked in the second run of the game rocket lineout double play on the bottom of the second, a ball that had a 98.5 mph exit velocity and a .790 xBA that Andy Ibanez caught, and which was hit so hard the runners had no chance to react, allowing Ibanez to throw to Isiah Kiner-Falefa at shortstop for the third out.
  • That, incidentally, was the most weakly hit of three balls J.P. Crawford put in play against Foltynewicz today. The other two each had a .650 xBA. He was hitless on the day.
  • Foltynewicz was also helped by a terrific relay from Adolis Garcia to Andy Ibanez to Charlie Culberson to cut down Abraham Toro trying to advance to third on a lead off double.
  • Anyway, 93 pitches for Foltynewicz, 20 batters faced, seven swinging strikes. He threw his four seamer and his curveball 26 times apiece on Sunday and generated one swinging strike on each.
  • But, be that as it may, he left with the Rangers in the game. Not leading, of course, but at least just down 2-1.
  • Jharel Cotton and Demarcus Evans combined for the next three innings, 1.2 IP and 1.1 IP. They, too, provided adventures. Cotton threw his first six pitches out of the strike zone, and while he came back to get Ty France, the second batter of the inning, swinging, he gave up a line drive to right center by Abraham Toro that seemed destined to make it a 3-1 game.
  • Except fortune once again smiled on the Rangers. The ball bounded on a hop over the fence for a ground rule double, and Kyle Seager, who would have easily scored from first, instead had to stay at third. And that’s where he ended the inning, courtesy of a Jarred Kelenic comebacker and an inning ending pop up.
  • Incidentally, when you complain about how the Rangers prospects come up and struggle but everyone else’s prospects come up and rake, take a moment to check out Jarred Kelenic. A top ten prospect in baseball entering the year, Kelenic went 1 for 2 with 2 walks today. That’s boosted his slash line on the season to .124/.216/.204, in 157 plate appearances.
  • The relief was short lived, though. After two quick outs in the seventh, a walk and a single put runners in the corner for that granny kicker, Kyle Seager. And Seager bunted down the third base line, catching everyone by surprise and bringing home a third run. Demarcus Evans then came into the game and got the third out.
  • But don’t let out a big sigh of relief yet! Evans elicited a pop out to start the eighth, and then gave up three straight singles. Because the Rangers outfielders are all equipped with howitzers, the runners advanced just one base on each single, but that meant the bases were loaded, and Evans has already given up a grand slam this year. People were nervous, people were tense, mothers clutched their babes more tightly to their bosom.
  • And then Evans went 3-2 to each of the next two batters before striking them out swinging. He needed seven pitches for each of those two Ks. Of those fourteen pitches, he threw two curveballs, and the other twelve pitches were 91 mph fastballs. He’s got that spin rate, baby!
  • I watched this game but I don’t even remember who pitched the ninth. Someone boring I bet. Let me check. * pause *. It was Dennis Santana. I don’t know that I’d go so far as to call him boring, I guess, but at this point he hasn’t done anything to etch himself into my memory. He didn’t allow a run.
  • Okay, so that gets us to the ninth. We can probably skip the bottom of the first eight innings. Nothing much happened, which is why it was 3-1 Mariners in the ninth. The one run scored when Andy Ibanez and Jonah Heim led off the inning with singles, and then there were a couple of fielders choices. The run scoring one was off the bat of David Dahl, and the broadcast noted the curious decision not to look Ibanez back before going to second, but you know, it’s a Sunday afternoon game against the last place Rangers, and the M’s are probably feeling a little logy.
  • Other than a Jose Trevino double nothing else much happened until the eighth, when the Rangers got a pair of singles, but the second one hit Isiah Kiner-Falefa and IKF was called out, and so they then didn’t score. So it was the ninth inning, with Jonah Heim as the third batter of the inning, so he could bat as the winning run, but only if the first two batters reached, which wasn’t going to happen.
  • Except. Erik Swanson, the former Ranger prospect who went to the Yankees in the Carlos Beltran deal, then to Seattle in that trade for the M’s lefty who was really good but always hurt...Erik Bedard? No, James Paxton. Anyway, Swanson pitched because newly acquired closer Diego Castillo was used in both Friday’s 9-5 win, presumably to get him work, and Saturday’s Jonah Heim walkoff win, presumably because they didn’t think he’d given up a home run to Jonah Heim. Not wanting to use Castillo three days in a row, I supposed, they went with Swanson.
  • Swanson gave up a slappy opposite field single to Nate Lowe to start the inning.
  • Then Swanson gave up a line shot home run to left field by Andy Ibanez to tie the game.
  • I will admit — I yelled. I clapped once, loudly. I shrieked. I may have even hooted. It was a meaningless game in an awful season on a Sunday in August against a stupid Seattle Mariners team, and none of this matters, and none of it matters anyway because entropy will ultimately catch up with us all, but fucking hell, it was awesome to see the Rangers tie the game up like that.
  • Having let loose my pent up energy, I didn’t have the same reaction when Jonah Heim followed up with another walk off home run. Instead, I laughed. It was just so absurd, so ridiculous, so nonsensical. And it was a win, and I loved it.
  • Mike Foltynewicz hit 93.4 mph on his sinker today. Yeah, he apparently throws a sinker. Dennis Santana’s sinker hit 96.4 mph. Jharel Cotton touched 94.2 mph, and Demarcus Evans hit 92.5 mph.
  • Andy Ibanez had exit velocities of 103.4 and 101.8 on his single and home run, respectively. Charlie Culberson’s eighth inning single that hit IKF was 101.5 mph. Jose Trevino’s double was 101.4 mph, and Jonah Heim’s walk off was 101.3.
  • It was a series win. I’m gonna enjoy it.