Rangers 5, M’s 0
- Even when playing out the string in a bad, disappointing season, there are games that make following your team worthwhile. This was one of them.
- It wasn’t a game that looked like it boded well for Texas. The M’s were starting Robbie Ray, the 2021 A.L. Cy Young Award winner, and while Ray isn’t having a CYA-worthy season, he’s still a lefty with good stuff who has put up a 2.5 bWAR on the year.
- The Rangers, meanwhile, were doing the much-dreaded bullpen game. Their record on the year in bullpen games was, I don’t know, 1-37 or something like that heading into Tuesday. And Jesus Tinoco and Tyson Miller were the opener and “bulk innings” guy, which, you know.
- The (most likely) playoff-bound Mariners were stymied by the Rangers’ ragtag group of mound misfits, however. Six Rangers pitchers combined to shut out the M’s, and Seattle didn’t get a baserunner past second base all game. I have to think that Mariners online fandom expressed a lot of unhappiness about being shut down like that.
- The performance by the Ranger bullpen tag team, however, was overshadowed by the performance of Josh Jung, who had a career night (albeit in what has been a very short major league career).
- The Jung Saga has been quite a rollercoaster of emotions over the past six weeks. Once Jung got to AAA ahead of schedule in early August — when the expectation was that he would likely not play this year, and would just DH if he did play — there were immediate calls for him to be brought up. Every day that passed without Jung being in the majors had everyone asking, “Where’s Jung?” Once Josh finally was called up, he homered in his first major league at bat, and there was much happiness.
- That initial happiness masked the fact that Jung was having significant contact issues, however. He got hits but also racked up a bunch of strikeouts, and didn’t draw a walk until his 14th major league game. An 0 for 18 streak dropped him to .172/.200/.379 on the season after Saturday’s loss to the Indians, though a two for four game (albeit with two Ks) on Sunday signaled that maybe he was snapping out of his slump.
- Jung snapped in a big way on Tuesday. In the second inning, he took Robbie Ray deep on a 3-2 pitch, giving the Rangers a 1-0 lead. After a GIDP in the fourth, Jung came up big against Ray again in the sixth, looping a two out single the opposite way to make it a 2-0 game. Finally, in the eighth, with Corey Seager on second and one out, the M’s walked Adolis Garcia to bring Josh Jung to the plate against a new pitcher, Diego Castillo. Jung smoked a 1-0 slider 424 feet (per Statcast) to center, giving the Rangers the 5-0 lead that ended up being the final score.
- So Jung accounted for all five Rangers runs with a three for four night, raising his slash line on the season to .227/.250/.515. That alone makes a Rangers game worth watching.
- Oh, and Bubba Thompson stole another base, his 18th of the season. That also makes a Rangers game worth watching.
- Jesus Tinoco topped out at 96.8 mph on his sinker. Tyson Miller’s fastball reached 93.5 mph. Dennis Santana threw one fastball, which was 96.3 mph. Matt Moore’s fastball topped out at 93.9 mph. Jonathan Hernandez hit 98.5 mph with his sinker. Jose Leclerc touched 97.7 mph with his fastball.
- Josh Jung’s home runs were 108.3 mph and 105.5 mph off the bat. Nathaniel Lowe had a 108.1 mph single. Marcus Semien had a 107.3 mph single. Bubba Thompson had a 105.5 mph single. Kole Calhoun (oh, yeah, he’s still on the team) had a 100.4 mph groundout.
- The Rangers now try to win another game in Seattle. No matter what, wins against Seattle are good things.