M’s 4, Rangers 3
- How many times can the Rangers play the same game?
- I said on Sunday that the series in Oakland was sort of the Rangers’ season in microcosm. They followed that up with a series opener in Seattle that feels like the 20th or 25th version of the same game the Rangers have played over and over this season.
- An iffy start from the starting pitcher. A good, but not quite good enough, job by the bullpen. A late rally that fell short, with all of us lamenting the opportunities that were missed.
- Glenn Otto seems likely to end up in the bullpen long term. Oftentimes that is the case because a pitcher is a two pitch pitcher, and doesn’t have the repertoire to go multiple times through the order. That’s not the issue with Otto, though — Otto threw five different pitches last night, with his sinker most often, at 27%, and his slider least often, at 16%. On the season, he’s thrown his sinker, slider and fastball each around a quarter of the time, with his knucklecurve and changeup roughly evenly split for the remainder.
- When Otto came to Texas in the Joey Gallo deal, his slider was considered his out pitch, which was all the more remarkable because he had just added the slider that year. The slider has been less effective this season, and against the M’s, he generated just one whiff out of the thirteen times he threw it.
- Otto ended up with an outing that was...fine. Three runs allowed in 5.1 IP, five Ks, one walk, a bases loaded wild pitch that gave the M’s their second run of the game. Only six swings and misses in 82 pitches, though, which won’t play long term.
- If you want to know why Dallas Keuchel was signed to a minor league deal by the Rangers, concerns about whether Otto will be able to continue to give the Rangers innings, and the potential need for someone to potentially fill the Jordan Lyles role from last year, a veteran to provide innings, even if they aren’t good, so the prospects don’t have to be left out there to get hammered. I’m sure the Rangers hope they won’t need Keuchel, but they’ve got him behind the “In Case of Emergency Break Glass” window.
- We had the rare instance of Brock Burke appearing mortal, as Burke, after retiring the final two batters of the sixth, loaded up the bases iwth one out in the seventh on a single, walk, and HBP. A Carlos Santana run scoring groundout for the second out ended up being the difference in the game. Alas and alack.
- Santana hit a chopper to third on the ball, and it wasn’t well struck, which makes it harder to turn a double play. Ezequiel Duran double clutched before throwing to second base, which didn’t help, though Santana might have beat it out anyway.
- Dennis Santana was brought in to face Eugenio Suarez, with Chris Woodward not wanting to let Suarez face a lefty, and Santana struck Suarez out on three pitches, so maybe he’s back? Or maybe not? Who knows?
- Jose Leclerc struck out the side in the eighth, all swinging, and also walked Adam Frazier on four pitches and threw a wild pitch. That seems like a very Leclercian inning.
- Only six hits for the Rangers, which isn’t going to win many games, even when half of them are for extra bases. Four walks to go with the six hits helps, but...*shrug*. The Rangers seemed to be in position to do some things in the third, when Ezequiel Duran and Josh Smith each singled to start the inning. A force out put runners on first and third, a wild pitch scored Duran, and then a walk and an E-6, sandwiching a Jonah Heim fly out, loaded the bases with two outs for Nathaniel Lowe. Lowe had a double and a homer in the game, but neither came in the third, as he instead grounded out to end the inning and the threat.
- An Adolis Garcia homer in the sixth off of M’s starter Chris Flexen made it closer, but otherwise, there was very little going on between the third and the late innings. Garcia walked with two outs in the eighth, then was caught stealing to end the inning. Nathaniel Lowe then led off the ninth with a homer, which can send one into a “what if” spiral, which we aren’t going to do.
- The Lowe homer was followed by a Leody Taveras single and a Kole Calhoun walk. This, of course, is a familiar scene for Rangers fans in 2022, with the Rangers making a late rally to get close. In this case, Ezequiel Duran struck out, Josh Smith popped out, and Marcus Semien grounded out, ending the game and providing yet another one run loss.
- Like I said, feels like we’ve seen this movie a couple of dozen times this year.
- When I was growing up in Fort Worth, there were two prominent country stations on radio — 96.3 KSCS, and 99.5 KPLX. 99.5 was generally the Avis to 96.3’s Hertz, but they were a regular presence in commercials that they would run on the syndicated reruns of Three’s Company and Happy Days and the like I would watch after school. They had a campaign that ran for a while that showed someone flexing their bicep while the jingle played, “Look who’s flexin’ their plex,” and would end with “K-PLEX!”
- Everyone time I see Chris Flexen I think of those commercials.
- Glenn Otto hit 94.8 mph on his fastball. Brock Burke touched 95.9 mph on his fastball. Dennis Santana maxed out at 98.3 mph on his sinker. Jose Leclerc hit 96.1 mph with his fastball.
- Nathaniel Lowe had a double that was 100.6 mph off the bat — harder than his homer, which was 98.7 mph. Kole Calhoun had a 104.2 mph lineout.
- There’s another game. Maybe the Rangers will not have a one run loss in this one.