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Thoughts on a 7-0 Rangers win

Rangers 7, Twins 0

Texas Rangers v Minnesota Twins Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Rangers 7, Twins 0

  • Changes happen, drama ensues, everyone obsesses over it for a period of time, and then we go back to life as usual.
  • And so it is, as the Rangers ended their week of turmoil with a blowout win in Minnesota, on the heels of a one run win that was on the heels of a one run loss.
  • Well, things aren’t exactly going as per usual. For instance, a Ghost of Seasons Past — well, not Seasons Past, just Last Season — appeared in the form of Kohei Arihara. Arihara was one of many failed Ranger experiments in the rebuilding year of 2021, signed from Japan on a cheap two year deal, then bad, hurt, and, upon getting healthy, bad again last year.
  • Arihara was waived and outrighted late last year, removing him from the 40 man roster, and while he was said to be rotation depth for 2022 and would come to spring training competing for a rotation spot, the reality was that he would most likely toil away in Round Rock in 2022, and if he ended up in the majors again, things would have gone pretty wrong.
  • Well, Arihara returned. He didn’t pitch that well for most of 2022 in Round Rock, but a nice recent stretch, combined with the major league club being desperate for rotation innings and lacking in other options, resulted in Arihara being a major leaguer again. A spot start against Oakland, a middling outing, was enough for him to get another start. Against a Minnesota team in the midst of a playoff race, another middling performance, keeping the Rangers in the game until things could be turned over to the bullpen, seemed like the best case scenario.
  • Arihara, instead, shut the Twins down. After allowing a single hit in the first and then the second, Arihara faced one over the minimum over the next four, with the only baserunner coming via a HBP. Arihara went out for the seventh inning, and was lifted after the first two batters reached on singles, but they didn’t score, and he ended up with six shutout innings on his record.
  • I’m not really sure how he did it. Arihara was at 65 pitches through six, and ended up with 71 pitches in all. He wasn’t missing bats — only three Ks, and six swinging strikes in all — but the Twins only put one of his sinkers in play. Arihara has a five pitch mix he put on display, and was throwing his cutter and change up for strikes, which the Twins weren’t able to do damage against.
  • Every once in a while the Rangers will get shut down by someone who we think they should be able to beat up on, and we lament why that only seems to happen to Texas. This is a reminder that, sometimes, other teams experience that as well.
  • The fun thing about good multi-inning relievers is that they give you the opportunity for the occasional three inning save — as was the case today with Taylor Hearn, who picked up his first major league save. Hearn was terrific, throwing his fastball for strikes, locating his slider, and ended up mowing down the Twins lineup, facing nine batters, retiring all nine, striking out five batters, and generating eight swings and misses in 43 pitches.
  • This version of Taylor Hearn is someone who can been a weapon out of the bullpen — he was about as good as I can remember seeing him.
  • The offense didn’t do much for the first two-thirds of the game, and for a while it looked like Marcus Semien’s fourth inning solo homer might have to stand up on its own. But six runs over the final three innings provided plenty of breathing room, and hey, the final score looks like a blowout, even if we know it was close until late.
  • And big games for Marcus Semien, Nathaniel Lowe and Brad Miller, three guys who have been objects of derision for much of this season. Lowe keeps on hitting, and I’m starting to think the folks who called him Mitch Moreland without the glove may have been underselling him.
  • Kohei Arihara maxed out at 93.0 mph on his sinker, averaging 90.5 mph. Taylor Hearn hit 98.5 mph on his fastball.
  • Nathaniel Lowe’s home run had an exit velocity of 108.2 mph. Marcus Semien’s home run was 106.2 mph off the bat. Corey Seager has groundouts at 105.8 mph and 104.4 mph. Brad Miller had a 106.2 mph single. Adolis Garcia had a 104.3 mph single.
  • Texas and Minnesota play again Monday night, because for some reason there’s a weird four game weird series that wraps around the weekend. Things are strange.