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Thoughts on a 6-4 Rangers loss

Rockies 6, Rangers 4

MLB: Colorado Rockies at Texas Rangers Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Rockies 6, Rangers 4

  • Let us not talk about the slide.
  • This was an extremely frustrating game. Like all three Rangers losses this year, it felt like a winnable game, one that the Rangers let slip away through plays not made and missed opportunities.
  • Taylor Hearn got the start, and early on, one had the fear that it would be the third straight time where he didn’t get out of the first inning in his first start of the year. Connor Joe led off the game with a single, then after a Charlie Blackmon K, Kris Bryant doubled. Fortunately for Hearn and the Rangers, though, Joe was thrown out trying to score for the second out.
  • A C.J. Cron triple brought home Bryant. Brendan Rodgers walked. Hearn hit Ryan McMahon, loading the bases. Fortunately, a Randal Grichuk grounder ended the inning.
  • The second inning started with Hearn in trouble again, with an Elias Diaz double being followed by an infield single from Jose Iglesias, on a ball that it seemed like Charlie Culberson was just a little slow making a play on, giving Colorado runners on the corners with no one out. Once again, it seemed like disaster loomed.
  • Hearn handled his business, though, striking out Joe, Blackmon and Bryant, all swinging, to get out of the inning.
  • The Rockies put two more runners on in the third, to no avail, and a leadoff double by Joe in the fourth led to nothing. Hearn was done after 4 innings and 76 pitches, having allowed 8 hits in 4 innings, but only one walk and one run, while striking out six. Hearn generated 12 swings and misses, including seven on his slider. It was a solid first outing of the year for Hearn.
  • Albert Abreu and Dennis Santana pitched the sixth and seventh, neither allowing a run. To start the eighth, Chris Woodward went to Matt Bush to protect a 3-1 lead.
  • Bush got Blackmon to pop out, then allowed a Bryant single. A wild pitch sent Bryant to second base. Cron struck out, and then a Brendan Rodgers grounded looked like it would end the inning.
  • But no. A Charlie Culberson error extended the inning, allowing Bryant to score to make it 3-2. McMahon reached via a HBP again to make things scary, but Bush escaped, and the Rangers were still up 1.
  • Bad defense struck again in the 8th. With Brett Martin pitching, Diaz singled, and after a fielder’s choice, Iglesias walked. Martin got Blackmon to hit a bounding ball back up the middle that looked like it would be a GIDP. Corey Seager fielded it, went to the bag, but then threw very wildly to first base — not one of those “Ronald Guzman woulda caught it” wild throws, but one way up the line that allowed Iglesias to score from second. Compounding the problem, Blackmon was caught in a rundown, but managed to get back to first safely after a rundown throw hit him.
  • It was bad. Spencer Patton came in and got the final out, but the score was tied.
  • Colorado then untied it in the top of the ninth on a Cron home run off of Joe Barlow, making it 4-3. Barlow struck out Rodgers, McMahon and Grichuk to end the inning, but once again, the damage was done.
  • The Rangers tied it in the bottom of the ninth. It was a tremendous moment — a Willie Calhoun two out pinch hit home run, his first hit of the season — and after Calhoun homered I thought, you know, I don’t care if we win or lose at this point. That Calhoun home run made the game worthwhile, regardless of how it turns out.
  • I was wrong, by the way. I did end up caring how it turned out, though for reasons I didn’t expect.
  • Calhoun, in the locker room before the game, apparently indicated to the writers there that he wasn’t letting his slow start get him down — he was feeling good about his plan at the plate, was making good contact, and was confident the results would come soon enough. At least for today, he was right.
  • I don’t see that there’s any point in talking about the top of the 10th. Greg Holland was sent into the game and gave up two runs, one the Zombie runner on an Iglesias one out single, and one on a Connor Joe home run. Iglesias was thrown out trying to advance on the throw home on his RBI single, or it would have been three runs on Holland’s ledger. I was mystified about the decision to put Holland on the active roster, given his lack of recent success, and his two appearances so far this season haven’t done much to demystify the situation for me.
  • Anyway, all that set things up for a bottom of the 10th where the Rangers had two on and one out, appeared to get a run in and the tying run at second on an Adolis Garcia grounder where the ball was thrown away in a futile attempt to turn a double play, only for replay to rule that Mitch Garver had committed interference in sliding into second base in the same way every runner slides into second base every game, resulting in both Garver and Adolis being called out.
  • It was a horseshit call.
  • But it was also a call that the Rangers were in a position to get horseshat by because they hadn’t taken care of business earlier.
  • I’m frustrated by this loss. Its very annoying. But at the same time, all in all, even with a 1-3 record, I’m not that upset with how the team has played thusfar. The offense has impressed, the bullpen needs to be sorted out, who knows about the rotation. But this looks like a decent team. Not a playoff team, maybe not a .500 team, but it looks like a not-embarrassing team. And after 2020 and 2021, that’s a big step forward.
  • Going to the Statcast data...Taylor Hearn topped out at 97.2 mph on his four seamer, and 96.8 mph with his sinker. He averaged 95.5 mph and 95.1 mph on those pitches, respectively. Albert Abreu hit 99.3 mph with his four seamer, and 97.7 mph with his sinker. Dennis Santana hit 97.4 mph with his four seamer and 97.0 mph with his sinker. Matt Bush touched 98.6 mph with his four seamer, averaging 96.4 mph. Brett Martin was at 95.5 mph with his sinker. Spencer Patton’s one fastball was 92.4 mph. Joe Barlow hit 95.4 mph with his four seamer and averaged 95.0 mph. Greg Holland touched 94.6 mph on his four seamer.
  • Willie Calhoun’s home run was 106.9 mph off the bat. Mitch Garver had a fly out at 103.0 mph. Nathaniel Lowe had a 102.1 mph double.
  • Sigh. I hate to see the Rangers lose a game on a stupid replay like that. Let’s see if they can get even with Colorado tomorrow.