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Thoughts on a 7-6 Rangers loss

Rockies 7, Rangers 6

Texas Rangers v Colorado Rockies Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Rockies 7, Rangers 6

  • In advance of this game, I had a vague, inchoate sense of dread. For some reason, I felt like playing the Rockies has been problematic for Texas lately, regardless of the ability of the Colorado team. It was a day-game-in-Oakland vibe.
  • So I went and looked. The Rangers were, prior to yesterday, 0-2 against the Rockies this year. They were 2-4 against the Rockies last year. They were 3-3 against Colorado in 2020. So, not good of late, but not as disastrous as it felt like to me.
  • I think the miasma that hovers over games against the Rockies in my mind probably stems from 2020, though. Texas started the season with a three game set against the Rockies at home — and had playoff aspirations when the season started, remember? — and lost two of three, scoring a total of five runs, starting the season off on a bad foot. And then, after winning the first two games against the Rockies in their series in Colorado, they lost the finale by a 10-6 score.
  • Texas had won four in a row prior to that, getting to 10-9 on the season, and with a shortened season and expanded playoffs, there was still reason for optimism. But the Colorado loss was followed by the Fernando Tatis Jr. grand slam game. And those two games were the start of an eight game losing streak, and a stretch of games where they went 3-18. A miserable stretch in the midst of a miserable year in the world overall, a stretch that started with a loss to the Rockies.
  • This game isn’t going to do anything to change that aura of funk around the Rockies. Dane Dunning started and was generally fine, throwing strikes — he didn’t walk anyone in the game, though he hit a batter — and missing some bats, generating 8 swings and misses in 72 pitches while striking out four in five innings of work.
  • I was a little bit surprised Dunning got pulled at just 72 pitches. Dunning allowed a three run homer on an 0-2 pitch to Elias Diaz in the second, as well as doubles that weren’t that well hit in the third and fourth, before giving up a run in the fifth. He did give up really loud contact to the first three batters of the fifth — exit velocities of 106.5, 105.1 and 102.6 — and allowed a run on a bloop single by Charlie Blackmon in the inning, but I thought he’d go out for the sixth.
  • The sixth was fine, with Josh Sborz throwing a shutout inning. It was the seventh inning that was the problem.
  • Brock Burke started the seventh by getting a grounder to shortstop that Corey Seager booted, putting a runner on first with an E6. A force out and a fly out meant there were two outs, and Burke would have been out of the inning but for the Seager error.
  • Burke got Charlie Blackmon to hit a weak infield tapper...a tapper that was so weak, unfortunately, that no one could field it in time to get an out. That brought up C.J. Cron, and on the first pitch, Cron hit a fastball way up in the air and right down the right field line...ultimately dropping in the stands for a momentum-shifting, two out, three run home run.
  • It was a brutal, unfair inning. An error, a slow roller, and a pop fly that, per Statcast, is an out almost 80% of the time, and the Rangers go from being up two to being down one.
  • Prior to that things had been going really good for the Rangers. Marcus Semien had a triple and a homer. Adolis Garcia extended his hitting streak to twenty games with a two hit night. Nathaniel Lowe had a home run. Things seemed to be clicking.
  • And yet it was a one run loss.
  • Another one run loss.
  • Charlie Blackmon, incidentally, had three hits in the game — two singles and a double. The exit velocities were 50.2 mph, 72.4 mph, and 80.5 mph. Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good.
  • Dane Dunning topped out at 91.3 mph on his sinker, averaging 90.0. Josh Sborz hit 98.3 mph with his fastball. Brock Burke touched 95.8 mph with his fastball. Jonathan Hernandez’s sinker reached 97.2 mph.
  • Nathaniel Lowe’s home run was 100.2 mph off the bat, but was just his second hardest hit ball of the day, as he had a 110.7 mph groundout. Jonah Heim’s double was 102.1 mph. Ezequiel Duran had a flyout that was 102.0 mph off the bat. Leody Taveras had a 100.9 mph groundout, and Adolis Garcia had a 100.9 mph double.
  • Next up is a day game followed by an off day. We need a win so we aren’t spending all that time wallowing in the unpleasantness of a two game losing streak.