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Thoughts on a 9-5 Rangers win

Rangers 9, Rays 5

Tampa Bay Rays v Texas Rangers Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images

Rangers 9, Rays 5

  • Eli White heard all of y’all clamoring for him to be sent down, and he wants you to shut your pieholes.
  • A tremendous game from Eli White, who went three for four with a two run home run off of Drew Rasmussen in the second inning in what was a much needed big offensive night for White, who has been slumping after a hot start.
  • But the biggest play from White came in the first inning. After Glenn Otto put a pair of runners on with a one out walk followed by a HBP, Ji-Man Choi crushed a changeup from Otto to deep center field. It looked like a home run...until Eli White leapt at the wall, sailing several feet up into the air to snare the Choi shot and turn a three run home run into an out:
  • The Rays ended up with a goose egg for that first inning, and Glenn Otto ended up giving up just two runs for the game in six innings of work. It was a gamechanging catch, one that shifted the overall direction of the contest — instead of being in a 3-0 hole early on, the Rangers took the lead themselves in the first, extended it to 4-1 in the second, and led comfortably the rest of the way.
  • Otto picked up the Quality Start, but wasn’t really at his sharpest. He largely went away from his slider, which is usually his out pitch, relying more on his knuckle curve, which he threw around a quarter of the time, with his sinker and four seamer combining for around half of his pitches. He wasn’t missing many bats — he generated just nine swings and misses in 99 pitches on the game — and that was reflected in his recording just four Ks on the day, against three walks (plus the first inning HBP).
  • Still, Otto battled his way through — after putting two on with one out in the second, he got out of the inning with just a single run allowed. The other run was of the unearned variety, after Marcus Semien sent the throw to first on an attempted fifth inning double play into the home dugout. Chris Woodward challenged the slide because, hey, why not, it seems like the calls of interference are kind of random, but the call was upheld, and Wander Franco followed with a single for the Rays second run of the game.
  • Matt Moore was brought in in the seventh to do his two inning, no run routine we have come to expect from him, but instead faced five batters and retired none of them before being pulled for Dennis Santana with two on, no one out, and what was a 9-2 lead having been reduced to a 9-5 lead. Santana put out the fire, though, and Matt Bush and Joe Barlow threw scoreless innings to finish things out, so it all worked out.
  • Things started out in a very frustrating manner for Rays starter Drew Rasmussen, as the Rangers started the game intent on fouling off every pitch in the strike zone that he threw. Marcus Semien led off the inning with a nine pitch walk. Corey Seager followed that up with an eight pitch walk that included a wild pitch and a throwing error that put Semien at third. Mitch Garver then drew an eight pitch walk that also included a wild pitch, though one that just moved Seager up to second. Kole Calhoun then smoke the first pitch he saw the other way for a single, bringing home a pair of runs. At that point, Rasmussen had thrown 25 pitches, seen four batters and retired no one.
  • In the second, newly promoted Josh Smith had his first major league plate appearance leading off the inning, and picked up his first major league hit with a single, before promptly scoring his first major league run on the Eli White homer we mentioned earlier. Jonah Heim led off the third inning with a home run, and while Rasmussen finished out the third inning, that was the end of his day, as Rays manager Kevin Cash brought in Matt Wisler for the fourth inning.
  • All told, the Rangers fouled off 21 of 67 pitches by Rasmussen. That seems like a whole lot. As a point of comparison, the Rays pitchers fouled off 26 pitches in the entire game, with the Rangers pitchers throwing 151 pitches in all.
  • The Rangers had one more big inning in them, once again started by Smith, who singled to left to open the bottom of the sixth. Eli White dropped a bunt that he beat out, followed by Marcus Semien hitting a high chopper that...I can’t explain what happened, you have to see:
  • This was such a weird, bad defensive play you’d think it was the Phillies who did it.
  • Anyway, that scored a run, and Mitch Garver and Kole Calhoun each doubled later in the inning, ultimately making it 9-2. The Rangers didn’t score after that, but then, they didn’t need to, did they?
  • A big night for Josh Smith, who had three singles in his major league debut. The Rangers seemed quite smitten with Smith this spring, and with the issues the Rangers have had at third base this season, Smith has the opportunity to claim the job if he performs well going forward.
  • Glenn Otto topped out at 94.9 mph on his four seamer. Matt Moore hit 95.2 mph on his four seamer. Dennis Santana threw just eight pitches, only one of the fastball variety, but that one sinker was 97.8 mph. Matt Bush maxed out at 98.3 mph, and Joe Barlow hit 94.8 mph on his fastball.
  • Kole Calhoun’s first inning single was 109.1 mph off the bat, while his sixth inning double was 103.8 mph. Marcus Semien hit into a double play in the seventh that was 106.7 mph off the bat. Eli White’s home run was a barreled 105.2 mph. Jonah Heim’s homer was 100.8 mph.
  • And the Rangers are back at one game under .500, with the opportunity to get back to even on the year. Can the Rangers do it? I’m on the edge of my seat, anxious to find out...