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Thoughts on a 5-3 Rangers win

Rangers 5, Mariners 3

Seattle Mariners v Texas Rangers Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Rangers 5, Mariners 3

  • Wins are always good. But wins against the hated Mariners are especially good.
  • This was a game where Chris Woodward was going to want Martin Perez to go deep, and Perez got off to a great start in that regard, needing just seven pitches to get through a scoreless inning. Hey, great efficiency!
  • I regret to inform you that sort of low pitch count would not last.
  • It got derailed in the second, in fact. After seven pitches in the second, Perez had a runner on first via a walk, and Carlos Santana at the plate (albeit with an 0-2 count).
  • Perez ended up facing six batters in the second, walking two of them, striking out two of them, allowing a hit, a stolen base and an E5, and allowing the first run of the game to score, on a total of 23 pitches in the inning.
  • It was a harbinger of things to come for Perez. He got back on track in the third, walking another batter but striking out two more. He allowed just a single in the fourth.
  • However…the M’s were making Perez work. 16 pitches in the third, 21 pitches in the fourth, and Perez was at 67 pitches through four.
  • Texas took the lead in the bottom of the fourth but Seattle immediately tied it up in the top of the fifth with another long inning that featured a pair of walks. If you’re keeping track at home that’s five walks on the game by Perez.
  • The sixth inning was the inning that made me think the Rangers were going to lose.
  • Texas regained the lead. Perez went back out for the sixth and gave up a double by J.P. Crawford to lead off the inning. Sam Haggerty dropped down a bunt that Perez fielded and threw to first on, retiring Haggerty but getting Crawford to third.
  • I am always a little bit surprised when the pitcher has to come off the mound and make a quick throw to a base run get a runner, and he actually succeeds, and doesn’t throw it away or hit the runner with the throw or just drop the ball after fielding it.
  • The broadcast questioned the decision to have Haggerty bunt the runner — representing the tying run in the sixth, on the road — from second to third. I’d tend to think Haggerty was bunting for a hit — that was just the seventh sacrifice bunt the M’s have had all year. And if you think that’s sounds really, really low, well, it does, and that has now tied them with the Rangers (and three other teams) in sac bunts this season.
  • Haggerty had gotten the hit that brought home the first M’s run of the game. With Haggerty having bunted Crawford over, it brought catcher Curt Casali to the plate.
  • This was Casali’s first major league game for the M’s. He came over at the deadline from the Giants in the deal that also sent Matthew Boyd to Seattle, and had been on the injured list. He was just activated a few days ago, and this was his first M’s action.
  • You might remember Casali as a Ranger, kind of, briefly. Casali was in camp with the Rangers in 2018, but was beaten out for the backup catcher job by Juan Centeno, who the Rangers had claimed on waivers in the offseason. Casali was released, went back to the Rays, where he had been for several previous seasons, on a minor league deal, then was acquired by the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds non-tendered him after 2020, the Giants signed him, and now Casali is a Mariner.
  • I mentioned Casali being with the Rays before coming to Texas in 2018, but he was originally drafted by the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers sent him to Tampa in the spring of 2013 so Tampa would let the Tigers keep Kyle Lobstein, who Detroit had acquired from the Mets, who had taken Lobstein in the Rule 5 draft. Detroit wasn’t going to keep Lobstein on their active roster, but didn’t want to give him back, so once Lobstein cleared waivers they sent Tampa Casali instead.
  • I mentioned Centeno as the Rangers backup catcher in 2018, but he was dropped by early May of that year. B-R claims someone named Carlos Perez was the backup catcher for the 2018 Rangers from early May until mid-June, but I am not sure I believe that, because I have no recollection of any Carlos Perez playing for the Rangers. The Rangers supposedly claimed him on waivers in early May from the Braves, but I think someone from B-R must be having a josh, because I don’t remember any Carlos Perez.
  • After Perez Isiah Kiner-Falefa was the backup catcher. Good times.
  • Anyway, Casali struck out, and the Haggerty bunt looked bad.
  • Perez, apparently bored with walking guys, hit Dylan Moore with a 1-1 pitch, bringing up Julio Rodriguez. Rodriguez hit a grounder that looked like it would end the inning, but Corey Seager’s throw to first (not second, and the booth questioned why he didn’t just go the short way) sailed high and to the first base side, and went for an error, allowing the tying run to score and Moore to go to third.
  • Perez ended up getting Ty France to strike out swinging to end the inning with the score tied at 3, but I still thought Texas would lose. I didn’t think Texas would score any more runs. And the bullpen…
  • So, remember how I mentioned earlier about Perez needing to work deep into the game? The bullpen was pretty shorthanded, which is why the Rangers wanted innings from Perez.
  • How short handed? Well, Matt Moore was on paternity leave, so he was out. Brock Burke pitched yesterday, and he doesn’t go on back to back days, so he was out. Taylor Hearn threw something like 70 pitches on Friday, so he wasn’t available. Jonathan Hernandez and Brett Martin had each pitched on both Friday and Saturday, which meant they were unavailable.
  • Thus leaving the Goon Squad in the pen. Chris Woodward had his pick of Garrett Richards, Josh Sborz, the newly promoted Yerry Rodriguez, John King, and Jose Leclerc. He needed three innings from some combination of those guys.
  • Woodward went with Sborz, and things worked out well, as it turns out. Sborz pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth, though he tried to scare us first with a lead off walk. That was then followed with: K, K, 4-3, K, K, K.
  • So that was good.
  • And the good version of Jose Leclerc pitched the ninth. He got a weak grounder, a weak pop up, and a K, and the Rangers won.
  • Jose Leclerc is beginning to look like the guy who was so good for Texas before his injuries.
  • On the offensive side of the ball, my lack of faith in late scoring was proven to be unjustified. A two out seventh inning double by Corey Seager off of Matt Brash brought Adolis Garcia up, and Garcia cashed in with an RBI single. Once Brash was replaced by Erik Swanson, Garcia ran on Swanson, stealing second, then Nathaniel Lowe ate Swanson’s dinner with a ground rule double for the insurance run.
  • Seager and Lowe each had nice games, each doubling twice, with Lowe also drawing a walk. Bubba Thompson had a two out two RBI single in the fourth that gave the Rangers their first lead.
  • Leody Taveras came into the game in place of Josh Smith for defensive purposes, which was weird, because Chris Woodward said before the game that Leody was out because he wasn’t quite ready yet, but wouldn’t say what the issue was because, he said, he didn’t want to tip off the M’s.
  • Whatever Leody’s issue was, it didn’t keep him for coming in and playing defense late. Maybe it was explosive diarrhea, but he could hold it in for a half inning in the field.
  • Martin Perez hit 95.0 mph on his sinker. Josh Sborz’s fastball topped out at 98.6 mph. Jose Leclerc hit 98.1 mph with his fastball.
  • Corey Seager had doubles with exit velocities of 107.3 mph and 104.3 mph, but his hardest hit ball of the game was a 108.0 mph groundout. Adolis Garcia had a 104.9 mph lineout and a 101.5 mph groundout, with his go-ahead single being 99.7 mph off the bat. Nathaniel Lowe had a 105.5 mph double, and Brad Miller had a 105.4 mph single.
  • What if this is the start of the Mariners sinking out of playoff contention? We can only hope…