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Thoughts on a doubleheader split

Rangers win one and lose one

Texas Rangers v Cleveland Guardians - Game Two Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images

Guardians 6, Rangers 3

Rangers 6, Guardians 3

  • I will take a split of a doubleheader.
  • And with that split, and the Angels 13th straight loss, the Texas Rangers are now in second place in the A.L. West.
  • I mean, if you want to get pedantic, they are like a hundreth of a percentage point behind the Anaheim Angels for second place, because the Angels have played two more games. But the Rangers and Angels are both an equal number of games behind the Houston Astros for first place in the division, and so as far as I’m concerned, the Rangers are in second place right now.
  • Moving on...
  • What a difference forty five minutes makes, huh?
  • Game One of this doubleheader was not good, much more not good than the 6-3 final score would indicate. Jon Gray’s command was poor, the bats were flat, and there was an awful sequence in the seventh inning where, with two outs and no one on, Andy Ibanez made a poor throw to first base, Nathaniel Lowe did a poor job scooping the throw, and after a stolen base, Marcus Semien knocked down a ball in the infield but was busy being frustrated with himself for not actually making the play long enough for the runner to come around and score.
  • That made a 5-3 game a 6-3 game, so it wasn’t as if it was a make-or-break play. But it came after the Rangers picked up a pair of home runs in the top of the inning, sucking some momentum out of a potential comeback. And the Rangers did nothing in the eighth and ninth, which would allow one to say that the poor play and run allowed in the bottom of the seventh took the wind out of their sails and impacted the bats.
  • Except things reversed in the second game. Taylor Hearn kept the Guardians off the board until the sixth, when he allowed a run and then had Dennis Santana allow a pair of inherited runners to score on a two out single. The other eight innings, though, the Guardians were kept off the board, and the Rangers hit four home runs, which brought home all six of their runs.
  • Even the one error in Game Two — on a two out second inning throw by Corey Seager that pulled Nathaniel Lowe off the bag, supposed — looked like on replay that it should have been called an out. Chris Woodward challenged the call, and it looked like the call would be overturned, but nope.
  • So a sloppy, disappointing game with the team’s (theoretical) best starter in Game One is immediately followed by a good, well-played game with the team’s fifth best starter on the mound less than an hour later in Game Two.
  • Can’t predict ball.
  • Gray allowed five runs in five innings of work, walking four, hitting a batter and allowing six hits in Game One. It was not his best work. After escaping a bases loaded, one out situation in the second with just one run scoring, the Guardians plated four against Gray in the third, and that was all she wrote, more or less.
  • Josh Sborz was added to the roster as the 27th man for the doubleheader. I thought that you couldn’t have a 27th man for a doubleheader that was scheduled less than 48 hours in advance, but when I went and looked it up, I saw that you could have the 27th man in a <48 hours doubleheader only for the second game. Then Sborz pitched the final inning in Game One, so I don’t know what the rules are anymore.
  • Eli White made two spectacular catches behind Hearn in Game Two. The first was with two outs in the first inning:

And the second, which I can’t find an embeddable video for, was in the fourth inning.

  • White still isn’t hitting — after taking a collar in Game Two, he’s slashing .196/.271/.278 on the year — but the defense is top notch. He’s got value as a bench guy.
  • Marcus Semien had a huge day, going three for four with a homer in Game One, and then going four for four with a pair of homers in Game Two. It has taken a while, but Marcus Semien does appear to be getting his groove back. Since bottomg out on May 14, he has slashed .309/.365/.553 in 104 plate appearances.
  • Steele Walker had his first career hit in Game One, a home run down the line. When he was rounding the bases my wife looked up, saw him, and said, “What the hell is up with that guy?” I had to expect 80 grade swag to her.
  • Jonah Heim started in Game two and picked up his seventh homer of the season, along with a single, raising his season slash line to .260/.324/.480. Not bad.
  • Nathaniel Lowe, meanwhile, was three for five in Game Two, picking up a homer and getting his slash line up to .265/.313/.400 on the year.
  • Ezequiel Duran followed up a one for four early game with a three for five in the later game. He’s more than held his own thusfar.
  • Weirdly, in Game Two, the Rangers had five players go hitless — six if you count Steele Walker, who came in as a pinch hitter and went 0 for 1 with a walk — but still picked up twelve hits. The twelve hits just all came from the same four batters.
  • Dennis Santana ended up pitching a scoreless seventh after closing out the sixth, and John King and Joe Barlow each threw a scoreless inning to lock down the win. Santana, King and Barlow are sporting ERAs of 1.31, 2.74 and 2.21, respectively. Not bad.
  • Jon Gray was throwing hard, at least, maxing out at 97.9 mph and averaging 95.3 mph with his fastball. Garrett Richards hit 94.0 mph with his fastball. Josh Sborz reached 98.7 mph. Taylor Hearn topped out at 96.6 mph on his fastball. Dennis Santana’s sinker reached 97.2 mph. John King’s sinker touched 91.9 mph. Joe Barlow’s fastball hit 94.7 mph.
  • In Game One, Marcus Semien’s home run was 97.6 mph, and he had a 105.8 mph single and a 101.6 mph ground out. Steele Walker’s home run was 101.6 mph, and he had a 107.9 mph ground out. Corey Seager had a 100.8 mph ground out.
  • In Game Two, Ezequiel Duran had a 107.8 mph ground out, a 107.0 mph single and a 103.3 mph single. Marcus Semien’s home runs were 103.3 mph and 101.1 mph, and he had a 102.2 mph single. Adolis Garcia had a 105.5 mph lineou out. Nathaniel Lowe’s home run was 104.6 mph. Jonah Heim’s home run was 101.3 mph, and he had a 101.1 mph single. Mitch Garver had a 100.4 mph ground out.
  • Let’s see if the Rangers can take the series today, and head into the off day on a high note.