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Thoughts on a 4-1 Rangers loss

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A’s 4, Rangers 1

Texas Rangers v Oakland Athletics Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

A’s 4, Rangers 1

  • We are well into the process >>> results portion of the season. From a team standpoint, its reasonable to argue that we want bad results, at least as far as wins and losses go — lots of great contact by hitters and swings and misses by pitchers, but a few fluky plays going the wrong way, or maybe a pitcher who won’t be here in 2022 getting lit up, and so the team has a loss and helps their draft position but the performances of players you care about indicates good things for the future.
  • Personally, I’d still rather win a game than lose a game, and I’m going to root for wins, but it isn’t like the win or loss end result matters at this point, other than for draft positioning (and where this season falls on the all time list of bad Rangers seasons). Its what we see from the guys who may be contributing in the future that is important.
  • So with that in mind, we don’t need to dwell on Mike Foltynewicz’s performance. He allowed just one run in 6 innings, allowed just two hits, but only struck out two guys, walked three batters and hit two guys. So, whatever.
  • Brett Martin had a solid scoreless inning in relief of Foltynewicz, striking out two batters in an inning of work. Martin has quietly had a very nice season, and has quietly been a very nice reliever for the Rangers over the past three years. He doesn’t strike out a bunch of guys, but he also doesn’t walk many, he gets ground balls, and he’s a solid lefty middle relief option. In 121 major league innings, he has a 3.94 ERA and a 3.94 FIP, including 3.48 and 3.75 this year. He’s a nice player to have on your team.
  • Joe Barlow pitched a scoreless eighth inning for the Rangers, striking out two and walking one. Barlow was left unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft each of the past two offseasons, despite very nice minor league numbers in a relief role, and he went undrafted each of the past two years — primarily because of questions about his command. While there was no minor league season in 2020, in 2019, Barlow struck out 14.7 batters per nine between three levels, but walked 6.6 per nine. In 19 games for Nashville, he struck out 22 batters and walked 21.
  • This year, however, he’s shown a marked improvement in his command. In 21 innings for Round Rock, he struck out 29 batters while walking only eight. In 11 innings for the Rangers, he has struck out 17 batters while walking only five. That has translated to a 0.77 ERA and a 1.54 FIP so far in the majors, with a 1.60 xERA.
  • I don’t think we are at the point where we would say Barlow’s command is necessarily a strength, and he is going to have to show he can maintain the improved command going forward. But he has a high quality fastball/slider combo, and he misses bats — he got 6 swings and misses yesterday on 23 pitches. Out of 572 pitchers with at least 10 innings pitched this year, only 21 of them have a higher swinging strike rate than Barlow. What we have seen from him so far this season has been very encouraging.
  • Dennis Santana and Spencer Patton each threw a scoreless inning. If you are counting, you’ll notice that this is more than nine innings that Rangers pitchers threw, with just one run scoring. That’s because the Rangers’ offense didn’t do much of anything. Leading us to...
  • Jimmy Herget. Herget, back in the majors after a very good run at Round Rock, came into the game for the 11th inning with the zombie runner on second. One has to wonder, really, how much it actually mattered whether Herget kept the A’s off the board at this point or not. Did anyone have any faith in the Rangers pushing across a run in the 12th? That’s part of what sucks about being a road team in an extra inning game...if you don’t score, you know that not only do you have to keep the other team off the board in the bottom of the inning, you’re going to have to do it again at least once more after that. Or, at least, hold the opposing team to fewer runs, if you put up a crooked number the next inning.
  • In any case, Herget’s night was short, but not sweet. He hit the first batter he faced, putting runners on first and second, and then allowed a walk off home run to Starling Marte. Ballgame.
  • The Rangers offense had an assy game. Only six hits, half of them by Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who drove in Curtis Terry (who had doubled ahead of IKF) for the only Ranger run of the game, but then got caught stealing third base for the final out of that inning — the fifth, in case you are taking notes — so yay for IKF for the hit, but minus a lot of points for making the third out at third base.
  • Not that the offense was likely to do anything to get IKF home, of course, but who knows, maybe Chris Bassitt would have balked or something.
  • As for the other two hits, Nate Lowe got one of them. The other was from Yonny Hernandez, and it was his first major league hit, so that is pretty cool.
  • Let’s look at our pitcher velocity numbers now, rather than wallow in the craptitude that is the Rangers’ offense any longer. Mike Foltynewicz reached 94.8 mph on his four seamer as well as 94.2 mph on his sinker. Joe Barlow’s four seamer maxed out at 95.7 mph. Dennis Santana hit 96.1 mph with both his sinker and his four seamer. Brett Martin’s sinker topped out at 93.7 mph. Spencer Patton touched 94.2 mph. Jimmy Herget threw a pair of two seamers, each of which was 90.2 mph.
  • I know those of you who regularly read these posts and actually make it to the exit velocity portion will be shocked to read this, but Nate Lowe’s single had 1) a 109.5 mph exit velocity, and 2) a -18 degree launch angle. He also, for what it is worth, had a lineout that had a 99.7 mph exit velocity with a 18 degree launch angle. From a process versus results standpoint, that was a better at bat than his single. Curtis Terry’s double had a 102.9 mph exit velocity. Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s double was 100.6 mph, and his singles were 96.5 mph and 96.8 mph, so there was hard contact from him, which is good from both a process and results standpoint.
  • Saturday’s game is a day game. Everyone be prepared to spend your afternoon watching Drew Anderson start for Texas.