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Thoughts on an 8-3 Rangers loss

ChiSox 8, Rangers 3

Texas Rangers v Chicago White Sox Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

ChiSox 8, Rangers 3

  • Things were going okay until everything went to hell.
  • The Rangers were slated to have Glenn Otto start the series opener in Chicago, but soon before game time, he was put on the COVID list. As a result, the Rangers had to go with a bullpen game, and last minute bullpen games are always worrisome.
  • As it turns out, the bullpen game part of the bullpen game — the various guys thrown out there to eat up the early innings — went okay. Matt Bush was the opener and his command was poor, but after a single, a wild pitch and a walk, he got it together and got a GIDP and a backwards K for a scoreless first.
  • This is the third game in 2022 that Matt Bush has started. I think Bush gets tapped for that duty because Chris Woodward uses him for no more than an inning at a time, and generally to start an inning. I suspect that the desire to keep Bush’s much-rebuilt elbow healthy by ensuring he has plenty of time to warm up (which isn’t always the case when you come in mid-inning) and to not have him start a new inning after he’s already pitched is the driving factor there.
  • Garrett Richards pitched a couple of innings and gave up one run. Fine. Tyson Miller came in behind Richards. Miller was one of the COVID replacements, and arrived at the ballpark minutes before gametime, having had to fly in from Las Vegas Friday.
  • Miller walked a pair and allowed a hit and a run, though the run was unearned and annoying. Miller led off the inning with a walk to Andrew Vaughn. Luis Robert hit into a 6-4 fielder’s choice, but wasn’t able to be doubled up because he didn’t hit the ball real hard and because he’s fast. Also because he’s fast, he stole second base. On the next pitch he stole third base. Sam Huff’s throw to Ezequiel Duran covering third went past Duran, allowing Robert to score. The ChiSox didn’t put the ball in play after that — after Jose Abreu walked, Dennis Santana came in and fanned Jake Burger and Yoan Moncada — so the run was unearned.
  • Santana, unlike Bush, is frequently brought in mid-inning, usually when the Rangers need a ground ball. I was looking at his numbers Friday morning and was struck by how good his control has been in 2022 — he had only walked four batters all season. Of course, he made it five with a leadoff walk to Yasmani Grandal in the seventh, and as with the leadoff walk to Vaughn, it ended up costing the Rangers in annoying fashion. Once again, a fielder’s choice resulted in a faster runner replacing the slower guy on first. Then with two outs, A.J. Pollock hit a fly ball to left field that Miller went back on, seemingly thinking he had a play, then ended up seeing go over his head as he leapt for it. It bounced off the wall, then Miller kicked it around for a moment, ensuring there was no play at the plate, giving Chicago a 3-2 lead.
  • After a Corey Seager solo home run tied the game back up at 3 — all the runs for the Rangers were on solo home runs — John King was given the job of keeping the game tied in the eighth. As with Santana, I had been looking at King’s numbers on the season earlier in the day, and had been impressed with the solid job he has done, with a sub-3 ERA on the year. I was thinking about how I felt Rangers fans didn’t appreciate how quietly solid he had been all year.
  • So of course, King gascanned in the eighth. Robert led off with a ground ball single, then was erased by an Abreu GIDP. That’s pretty normal for King — he generates a lot of ground balls, so he gives up some hits and gets a lot of GIDPs.
  • Then Jake Burger hit a slow roller on the right side of the infield. Nathaniel Lowe moved to his right and came in to field the ball, then shoveled to King covering first. King couldn’t handle the throw, and instead of a third out, it was an infield single.
  • Chris Woodward said after the game that lately, when King has gotten into trouble, he’s started elevating the ball. A sinkerballer elevating the ball is bad news, because it means the ball is being left up over the plate where it can be hammered. And that’s exactly what happened. Moncada had a 107.9 mph line drive single. Yasmani Grandal hit a fly ball double. Josh Harrison smoked a 103.8 mph single. And then Danny Mendick, whoever, that is, barreled King up and took him deep for a home run that made it 8-3.
  • King was pulled for COVID promotee Jesus Tinoco, who had to get the final out. King’s ERA on the year jumped by almost two full runs, to 4.56. A tie game — a winnable game — turned into a blowout.
  • That’s what I get for admiring the stats of some of the lesser known relievers. I will view even the good stats with scorn and hatred from now on.
  • Pitching issues aside, the Rangers scored only three runs, which is a problem. The Rangers hit three home runs in the game — along with Seager, Adolis Garcia and Nathaniel Lowe each homered — and you would think that a game where your team hits three homers would result in the team scoring more than three runs. But no.
  • The Rangers did a poor job getting on base when they didn’t homer. They were 3 for 30 as a team when they didn’t homer, those three hits being a Garcia infield single, a Huff single, and a Lowe double. There was only one walk drawn, by Steele Walker. You can’t score runs if you don’t get guys on base.
  • Matt Bush hit 98.1 mph on his fastball. Garrett Richards only three three fastballs out of 32 pitches, which seems kind of weird, but he topped out at 95.4 mph. Tyson Miller’s sinker reached 93.3 mph. Dennis Santana’s sinker scoffed at Tyson Miller’s sinker, touching 97.3 mph. John King’s sinker hit 94.5 mph. Jesus Tinoco’s one fastball was 95.2 mph.
  • Lowe’s homer and double were both hit 106.6 mph, and he had a 101.9 mph lineout. Garcia’s homer was 111.0 mph off the bat. Seager’s homer was 109.7 mph. Ezequiel Duran had a 106.9 mph lineout and a 103.6 mph groundout.
  • Tough times don’t last, but tough people do. Right? Let’s see if this most recent stretch of tough times end Saturday.