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Thoughts on a 2-1 Rangers win

Rangers 2, Phillies 1

MLB: Texas Rangers at Philadelphia Phillies Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers 2, Phillies 1

  • And it’s a sweep.
  • Yeah, a two game sweep, but it’s still a sweep.
  • Seven shutout innings for Martin Perez. This is on the heels of Perez taking a perfect game into the seventh inning his last time out. Martin Perez, Rangers ace?
  • At the risk of being a bit of a wet blanket, I am going to say that Perez was probably not as sharp as “seven shutout innings” likely suggests. He did walk four batters, to go with four hits, and only struck out four batters. Perez generated just seven whiffs in 88 pitches, which is not a great ratio.
  • There was also a lot of loud contact against Perez, who allowed an average exit velocity of 95.4 mph in the game. Perez did generate three GIDPs, although two of the GIDP balls were the two hardest hit balls of the game (108.9 mph by Matt Vierling and 107.5 mph by Jean Segura). Perez allowed six balls in play with an exit velocity of at least 100 mph, and the only one that resulted in a hit was a Jean Segura single.
  • Which is not to say Perez pitched poorly — he didn’t. But this is one of those games where he also benefitted from some good luck, good defense, and good defensive positioning.
  • Perez did walk a bit of a tightrope later in the game, after largely cruising through the first four innings. J.T. Realmuto started the fifth inning by drawing a 3-2 walk, and Perez reacted visibly on ball four, though whether over displeasure with himself for missing on the pitch, with the umpire for not calling the pitch a strike, or just general angst over walking Realmuto wasn’t clear. He followed that up with a four pitch walk of Kyle Schwarber, putting two on with no one out, and prompting flashbacks of Martin Perez meltdowns past. As Perez is wont to do, however, he elicited a GIDP, then got a groundout from new Ranger Killer Didi Gregorius to end the inning.
  • Perez started off both the sixth inning and the seventh inning with leadoff walks as well. In the sixth, he got Alec Bohm to hit into a double play, gave up a double to Nick Castellanos, and then retired Bryce Harper. In the seventh, there was a two out single by Jean Segura to put runners on first and second before Gregorius flew out.
  • But the Castellanos double...let’s circle back to that real quick, because it initially appeared to be (and was called) a Castellanos home run. It was a high fly ball to right field that Kole Calhoun went back on, acted like he might have a play on, and then appeared to go into the stands and bounce back into the field of play. On replay, however, one could see that a Philly fan in a red shirt leaned out over the field of play and tried (unsuccessfully) to catch the ball. Had the fan not interfered, the ball wouldn’t have left the field for a home run.
  • After a review, the call of a home run was overturned, and Castellanos was sent to second base, with the Philadelphia run coming off the board. Given the game went to extra innings, that was a big deal.
  • Matt Moore, dominant reliever, pitched the eighth and part of the ninth. He allowed a hit in each inning, and Rhys Hoskins gave us a bit of a scare when he started the ninth with a deep fly ball that was tracked down by Adolis Garcia in center field, but he kept the Phillies off the board for 1.2 IP, lowering his ERA on the year to 0.75.
  • Matt Bush was asked to deal with Jean Segura after Kyle Schwarber reached on a two out infield single in the ninth. He needed just two pitches to retire Segura on a line drive back up the middle that Bush snagged to end the inning and send the game into extra innings.
  • Joe Barlow pitched a clean ninth, striking out a pair. Because the Rangers were up two and the runner on second, Jean Segura, didn’t matter, the Rangers allowed Segura to steal third uncontested and score on a U3 groundout, so the Rangers don’t get credit for a shutout, which kind of sucks. But it was a win, anyway.
  • The Rangers did little to threaten most of the game. There was a rally of sorts in the seventh, when an Adolis Garcia leadoff walk and a Mitch Garver one out single put runners on the corners, but the inning ended on a weird double play when Zach Reks hit a pop up to very shallow left field, down the third base line. Alec Bohm, who has had throwing issues, made the catch with his back to the plate, and Adolis Garcia was sent home. Bohm recovered and made a good throw home, and getting Garcia by a decent amount. Garcia did look back after initially breaking home, slowly slightly, and it would have been a closer play had that not happened, but the Rangers were essentially challenging Bohm’s arm, and if he made a good throw — as he did — then Garcia was going to be out.
  • So to the tenth. Kole Calhoun, who had picked up a single earlier in the game, hit the ball hard to start the tenth, but right at Nick Castellanos in right field. It was deep enough to allow Adolis Garcia to advance to third base, however. Mitch Garver then drew a walk, and was lifted for pinch runner Eli White. Jonah Heim was already in the game as the DH, having pinch hit for Andy Ibanez earlier in the game — as a result, with Heim having to move from DH to catcher, the Rangers lost their DH for the game, and if the game went to the 11th inning, the pitcher would potentially have to hit for Texas.
  • The decision to have White pinch run paid off, however. After a three pitch strikeout by Nick Solak — highlighted by a particularly futile strike three swing on a breaking ball well out of the zone — White successfully stole second base with Brad Miller at the plate. Miller ended up singling to right field, bringing home Garcia and White. Had White not stolen second base, he wouldn’t have scored the insurance run for Texas, and it seems unlikely Mitch Garver would have been trying to steal with two outs in that situation.
  • Martin Perez topped out at 94.0 mph on his sinker. Matt Moore reached 94.9. Matt Bush threw one fastball at 95.5 mph. Joe Barlow’s fastball touched 95.6.
  • Kole Calhoun had the hardest hit ball of the game for the Rangers, with a 106.8 mph single, and also had a 101.0 mph lineout. Corey Seager, Brad Miller and Nathaniel Lowe had lineouts at 105.6, 102.0 and 101.1.
  • And we head into an off day once again with a win.