Rangers 8, Astros 4
- So mad the Astros didn’t score three more runs in the 10th so the Rangers could win by one.
- The ongoing saga of Glenn Otto continues. I continue to question whether he can stick as a starter long-term, but with the lack of other viable internal options right now, Otto is going to continue to get starts, and he pitched well enough on Wednesday. Four walks is too many, plus he hit a batter, and that’s too many free baserunners, something that contributed to him being at 87 pitches after the fifth inning. But there were 11 swings and misses, a respectable number, and he at least kept the team in the game, allowing just two runs in five innings despite the nine baserunners.
- I continue to wonder what happened to Otto’s slider. When Otto came over in the Joey Gallo deal just over a year ago, his calling card with his slider, a pitch he had just started using in 2021 which quickly became his out pitch. This year, however, the slider hasn’t been the same, and has actually been his worst pitch (in terms of Run Value, per Statcast) of the five different pitches he has thrown this year.
- Otto threw his slider 21 times against the Astros, generating four swings and misses. That’s not bad, but in looking at his pitch chart, you see a lot of sliders that miss badly down and glove slide — an area where it is unlikely you’re going to generate a swing and a miss.
- Brock Burke proved mortal, allowing a game-tying solo home run to Yordan Alvarez in the seventh that resulted in hearts sinking all over Rangerland. A late one run lead, on the road, in the Juice Box, where it seems the Rangers have been completely unable to win the past couple of seasons, disappearing with the Rangers’ most effective reliever this year on the mound. Why must we be tormented so?
- The Alvarez homer was a rocket, yanked right down the right field line. Jonah Heim had set up for Burke to throw a 2-1 sinker on the inside part of the plate to Alvarez. Burke missed his spot, pulling the pitch glove side to leave it over the heart of the plate, and Alvarez did what great hitters do when you make a mistake on a pitch.
- Brock Burke’s ERA, incidentally, has ballooned all the way up to 1.23 on the year. Tampa Bay won the trade!
- Let’s be honest...after that Alvarez home run, you thought the Rangers were going to lose, right? I know I did. I just didn’t know how.
- When Matt Moore took the mound in the eighth and struck out the first two batters, I figured, okay, it will go to the ninth tied. Then he gave up a pair of hits and I started worrying, thinking great, Jose Altuve is up, go-ahead run at second, something bad is going to happen...
- But Moore got Altuve to hit one of the saddest, weakest pop ups you’ll ever see, caught for the final out of the inning.
- Taylor Hearn, though...ninth inning, tie game, surely Houston will touch up Hearn for a walk off? But, again, no...fly out, K, ground out. Zombie Runners were on the horizon.
- Texas tearing shit up in the tenth allowed Jonathan Hernandez to finish things out in the tenth, allowing a Zombie Run on a hard hit single from Kyle Tucker but no other damage, and things worked out.
- Twelve hits for the Rangers, which, you know, that’s really good. Only two extra base hits, but both were by Leody Taveras. Leody has been slumping of late, and I’ve been meaning to write about how his early success was not supported by the underlying batted ball metrics, and that I was concerned this might be a mirage. Then he has a pair of hard hit XBHs, driving in five runs, and so I will be quiet for now.
- Glenn Otto’s four seamer topped out at 94.6 mph, and he averaged 92.4 mph on the day with his fastball(s). Brock Burke touched 95.4 mph with his fastball. Matt Moore hit 94.6 mph with his fastball. Taylor Hearn maxed out at 96.7 mph. Jonathan Hernandez had a sinker that hit 99.5 mph.
- Nathaniel Lowe had the hardest hit ball of the day for the Rangers, a 103.1 mph GIDP in the 8th. Corey Seager had a 102.2 mph single, a 102.1 mph single, and a 101.1 mph flyout. Leody Taveras had a 102.1 mph double and a 100.9 mph triple.
- That was a fun game. Fun games are fun. Let’s have more of these.