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Thoughts on an 8-2 Rangers loss

Royals 8, Rangers 2

Kansas City Royals v Texas Rangers Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

Royals 8, Rangers 2

  • The bullpen game was going well until the Royals scored a bunch of runs.
  • Matt Bush started for the second time this year, and things went quickly and easily for him in the first inning, as he needed just nine pitches to retire the side.
  • So I was a little surprised when Kolby Allard came out to start the second inning. Its a bullpen game, you have Matt Bush start, he needs just nine pitches for his inning, and you don’t send him out for a second inning?
  • However...that’s consistent with how Chris Woodward has used Matt Bush all season. Bush has made 13 appearances this year, for a total of 12 innings. He hasn’t pitched more than one inning all season, and other than in an April game in Seattle, when he came into the game in the bottom of the seventh, struck out Jose Rodriguez with two on and two out, then came out for the eighth and allowed a pair of walks and a game-tying single before being lifted, his outings have been confined to just the inning he entered the game.
  • My guess is that the idea is to get him hot, get him in the game, and then shut him down, in an effort to protect his arm. Bush is, after all, 36, has a history of arm injuries, and had a whopping 15.2 IP from 2019-21, including missing most of 2021 with an arm injury. That would also possibly be why Bush has been used as a starter twice — if you have to use an opener or have a bullpen game, you let Bush pitch the first, so you don’t have to worry about him getting warm or him potentially getting up and down in the bullpen.
  • Anyway, Kolby Allard took over for Bush, and given that Allard was called up for yesterday’s game, I have to assume that he was called up for the purpose of following Bush. And Kolby wasn’t terrible! I mean, he gave up a home run, as he is prone to do, but it was a solo home run, at least. Allard went three innings, allowing just that run, and turned the game over to Garrett Richards in the fifth with Texas down 1-0.
  • That’s when things got more problematic. Richards faced four batters — he walked the first batter he faced, gave up a single to the second batter, got a strikeout, then gave up a line drive double to Witt the Younger to bring home both runners and make it a 3-0 game. To make things worse, the throw home by Corey Seager to try to get the second runner went through Sam Huff’s legs, allowing Witt to go to third.
  • And that was it for Richards. Brett Martin was brought in to put out the fire, and did so, actually — Witt was thrown out at home on a 6-2 fielder’s choice on a contact play, and when Salvador Perez reached on an E3 (that was originally called out, and was quickly overturned on review), Martin ended the inning with a swinging K. Two swinging Ks sandwiching a 4-3 groundout in the sixth completed Martin’s night, and he did his job.
  • Texas scored in the sixth, but then gave that run right back in the top of the seventh due to new reliever Dennis Santana throwing the ball away to allow the leadoff hitter to get on safely and get to second, with a wild pitch moving him to third and a fielder’s choice bringing him home. Still, it was 4-1, and the Rangers had made comebacks in the past...
  • The top of the ninth ended all hopes of a comeback, though. Matt Moore had a scoreless eighth and came back out for the ninth. Two leadoff singles and a double steal had runners on second and third, but a strikeout and a flyout had Moore one out away from getting out of the inning. Salvador Perez was walked intentionally to bring up pinch hitter Emmanuel Rivera, who made the Rangers pay with a bases-clearing triple. An error by Brad Miller then brought Rivera home, which was just salt in the wound, and while Corey Seager homered in the bottom of the 9th, all that did was make it an 8-2 loss rather than an 8-1 loss.
  • The Rangers hitters were not productive. Brad Miller and Corey Seager each had solo home runs, accounting for the Rangers’ two runs. Otherwise, the offense consisted of singles by Eli White, Nick Solak, Sam Huff and Charlie Culberson, and a walk by Andy Ibanez. Bleah.
  • Matt Bush only threw three fastballs, the fastest of which was 97.0 mph. Kolby Allard’s fastball reached 92.7 mph. Garrett Richards maxed out at 94.1 mph. Brett Martin threw just two sinkers, which were 93.0 and 93.2 mph. Dennis Santana’s sinker topped out at 97.5 mph. Matt Moore hit 94.9 mph with his four seamer.
  • Nathaniel Lowe continues to not hit — with an 0 for 3 his OPS on the year has dropped to 622 — but he did have the hardest hit ball of the game, a 106.5 mph flyout that also qualified as a barrel. At least he hit the ball hard in the air for once. Seager’s home run was 105.5 mph, and Miller’s home run was 104.5 mph. Sam Huff had a 101. mph single and a 100.0 mph groundout. Andy Ibanez had a 100 mph groundout, and Marcus Semien had a 99.9 mph groundout.
  • So there you go. It was a loss, and an ugly one at that. Bah.