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Thoughts on a 9-2 Rangers loss

Astros 9, Rangers 2

Houston Astros v Texas Rangers Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Astros 9, Rangers 2

  • So much for the Rangers’ positive run differential on the season.
  • On the flip side, at least the Rangers’ record in one run games didn’t get any worse.
  • Oh, and the Rangers made history by being victimized by two immaculate innings in the same game.
  • To the extent there is any good news from today’s loss, it is that Jesus Tinoco and Kolby Allard were able to retire 22 batters between them. Between that and the use of Charlie Culberson in the ninth, the rest of the bullpen was able to get a day off today, rather than having to do mop-up work in a lost cause.
  • Kudos in particular to Kolby Allard, who needed just 58 pitches to go five innings. He allowed a pair of home runs but he did his job in terms of being efficient and soaking up innings.
  • Levi Weaver wrote today about the impression that Jesus Tinoco has made so far with the Rangers, and whether he has a chance to stick around in the bullpen once guys start returning from the injured list. The short answer to that is no, not just because of the fact he isn’t on the 40 man roster (because Tinoco is a replacement player for a player on the COVID i.l., he didn’t have to be added to the 40 man roster to come up), but because there’s not a clear choice for someone to send down once Jonathan Hernandez and Jose Leclerc return.
  • The numbers game is such that Tinoco may have to be the odd man out regardless, but he did what he could today to make his case, throwing 2.1 scoreless innings, walking one and striking out one.
  • Tyson Miller’s six run first inning — which he couldn’t get out of, being pulled with two outs for Tinoco — pretty much buried the Rangers, and after throwing 39 pitches, I expect Miller will be on his way back to Round Rock tomorrow, with some Express pitcher being activated on Thursday to give the Rangers a fresh arm. UPDATE — After I hit publish on this post and went to Twitter, I saw that Miller has already been optioned to Round Rock.
  • When Dan Szymborski did ZiPS projections for the standings in early February, before the lockout ended, he said he was surprised that the Rangers only projected to win 73 games, rather than 76-78. The reason, he explained, was “any time the team lost two or three starting pitchers for an extended stretch, the staff projections became a nearly-unmitigated disaster in the simulations.”
  • The Rangers had only added Jon Gray at the time, and my assumption was that the Rangers would add at least a couple more starting pitchers once the lockout ended. The quick addition of Martin Perez once the lockout ended was good, but I assumed that there would be at least one more move to add someone to the rotation, which would allow Spencer Howard and Taylor Hearn to battle for the fifth spot, with the guy who didn’t make it being in Round Rock as the first man up, backed by Glenn Otto and A.J. Alexy and whoever else.
  • That didn’t happen, of course. The Rangers have been fortunate in that they haven’t had starting pitchers miss extended periods of time, but they have seen Spencer Howard banished to Round Rock after three games and 6 innings of work. Glenn Otto replaced Howard, but neither Otto nor Hearn have done much so far to make one believe they should be in a major league rotation.
  • So when Otto landed on the COVID list, the Rangers lack of attractive depth options at Round Rock was exposed. Spencer Howard has continued to battle command issues. A.J. Alexy is pitching like someone who should be in the bullpen rather than in the rotation. Kolby Allard had already been brought up to be a long man. Cole Winn may be up at some point in 2022, but he wasn’t pitching like someone ready to face major leaguers just yet.
  • And that’s how we end up seeing Tyson Miller start against the Houston Astros.
  • Tyson Miller maxed out at 94.0 mph with his sinker. Jesus Tinoco hit 97.0 mph with his sinker. Kolby Allard touched 91.9 mph with his fastball. Charlie Culberson’s fastball topped out at 90.7 mph.
  • Corey Seager’s home run had an exit velocity of 108.5 mph. Ezequiel Duran’s double had an exit velocity of 109.6 mph. Adolis Garcia had a 104.8 mph single. Nathaniel Lowe had a lineout at 102.9 mph.
  • On to Detroit, where the Tigers used three — count ‘em, three — position players in their 13-0 loss to the White Sox this afternoon.