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Thoughts on a 4-2 Rangers loss

M’s 4, Rangers 2

MLB: Texas Rangers at Seattle Mariners Lindsey Wasson-USA TODAY Sports

M’s 4, Rangers 2

  • How unpleasant.
  • Last night was a combination of shaky starting pitching, a bullpen failure, and the offense not getting results. Which seems like it has been the story of every game in this five game losing streak.
  • Dane Dunning was not particularly sharp in this start. He did avoid giving up runs in the first inning — his normal bugaboo — but did so only via a triple play.
  • Triple plays are fun, of course, but not necessarily indicative of quality pitching. Dunning started the inning off with a walk to Adam Frazier and a single by Ty France. Facing Jesse Winker with two on and no one out, he appeared to catch Winker looking for strike three on a sinker at the bottom of the zone, but it was called a ball. I stewed over the missed call and what I was sure was now going to be a run scoring single that Winker would register...but instead he smashed a line drive that Nathaniel Lowe caught. Both runners were going, so Lowe easily doubled France off at first, and then tossed the ball to Corey Seager at second for the third out.
  • After a 1-2-3 second that featured a pair of Ks, Dunning ran into trouble again in the third. A strikeout of Jarred Kelenic was followed up by a line drive Abraham Toro double. Cal Raleigh then had a 105.3 mph smash that Nathaniel Lowe couldn’t field, resulting in an E3 and a run scoring. An Adam Frazier single and a Frazier stolen base put runners on second and third and created fears of a big inning. Dunning worked out of it, though, with a 5-3 and a lineout sandwiching a Jesse Winker walk.
  • Dunning put a pair on with two outs in the fourth, but escaped, although it was clear he wasn’t on his game and wouldn’t be given a ton more rope. Thus, when the M’s started the fifth with a ground rule double and an RBI single, Dunning was, as one would have expected, pulled. John King came in and didn’t help things much, allowing a single, a walk, a sac fly, and a single to make it 4-0 before finishing the inning with a K, a walk and a pop fly.
  • King was terrific in 2021 before his season was cut short by what turned out to be a need for TOS surgery. He is a command pitcher, and so far this season, he hasn’t shown the command he had last year. The Rangers really need him to find it again.
  • On the plus side, the rest of the Rangers pen had good results. Brock Burke bounced back from his first bad outing of the season with two shutout innings, striking out three, and Garrett Richards threw a scoreless inning. So they at least kept things under control.
  • Unfortunately, the Rangers didn’t get on the board until the ninth inning, when they rallied with a pair of singles and an E-5 that brought home a run and put the tying run at the plate with no one out. Exciting though that was, a 3-6 from Nathaniel Lowe, a sac fly from Adolis Garcia, and a K from Nick Solak ended the game with the Rangers on the wrong end of things.
  • The beat folks and the broadcast have been saying this for a while, and so I’m sure you’re tired of hearing it, but it is worth noting that the Rangers are generally hitting the ball hard. The Garcia sac fly was 99.6 mph off the bat with a 20 degree launch angle — an expected .470 batting average. Garcia had an earlier lineout that was 103.4 mph off the bat, with a .690 expected batting average, and a 97.8 mph lineout, with a .370 xBA. Brad Miller had a 110.7 mph groundout with a .600 expected batting average.
  • The team, as a whole, has a .328 xwOBA this year. Their actual wOBA is .296, however. The results have not matched the quality of the at bats.
  • Which doesn’t change the fact that the team is 2-9 right now, and the season already feels like a lost cause.
  • Dane Dunning averaged 89.6 mph on his sinker, maxing out at 90.2 mph. John King hit 92.9 mph with his sinker. Brock Burke touched 96.5 mph on his fastball, while Garrett Richards hit 93.1 mph.
  • Miller’s 110.7 mph groundout was the hardest hit ball of the day by either team. Adolis Garcia had a double that was 109.5 mph, along with his three hard hit outs mentioned above. Kole Calhoun had a 109.1 mph single, along with a 99.1 mph flyout. Corey Seager had singles that were 106.0 mph and 104.2 mph off the bat. Mitch Garver had a 101.5 mph GIDP.
  • This losing streak sucks. Things will get better, eventually. I just wish I knew when.