clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Thoughts on a 4-0 Rangers win

Rangers 4, Rays 0

Wild Card Series - Texas Rangers v Tampa Bay Rays - Game One Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Rangers 4, Rays 0

  • Thoughts on a victorious playoff game are fun.
  • And really it was a happy game all around, was it not?
  • Jordan Montgomery performed like a pitcher worthy of parting with Thomas Saggese, TK Roby and John King to acquire. Generally a six inning guy, Montgomery was efficient and effective enough to make it through seven shutout innings on just 93 pitches.
  • I know there was a certain amount of angst over pulling Montgomery, who was rolling, after seven innings and going to the unpredictable Ranger pen. But Montgomery had faced 27 batters, which meant the top of the order was coming up for the fourth time. The most batters Montgomery had faced in a game this year was 28, and he had crossed the 100 pitch mark just four times. I understand getting him out and letting a rested pen face the top of the order rather than trying to squeeze another 10-15 pitches out of him and possibly having to go to the pen mid-inning with runners on.
  • Montgomery used his four pitches — fastball, sinker, curve, changeup — more or less equally, getting nine of the ten whiffs he generated on the curve and change. Just five Ks, but he didn’t allow much hard contact — the one scary ball was a Yandy Diaz fifth inning blast that died on the warning track.
  • There was a bit of a jam in the second inning, when a single/sac bunt/single sequence put runners on the corners with one out. Jose Siri popped a bunt down the first base line, near the foul line in no man’s land, and it looked like a ball that would fall and that we would have to hope bounced foul. But Montgomery made an incredible leaping dive to snag the ball on the fly for the second out. After a few warmup pitches to make sure he hadn’t banged himself up, he fanned Rene Pinto to end the inning.
  • Randy Arozarena doubled with one out in the third and advanced to third on a fly out, but an Isaac Paredes pop out ended the inning. The Rays didn’t get a runner past second over the final six innings. Aroldis Chapman had an easy eighth, Jose Leclerc handled the ninth, and that was church.
  • (Now hopefully Chapman, who has an 8+ ERA when pitching on 0 days rest this season, is kept on ice tomorrow).
  • There was a definite contrast in defensive performances between the teams. Along with the Montgomery play, Evan Carter made a lovely diving catch in left field to end the first inning. The Rays, meanwhile, had a four error game, making life easier for the Rangers.
  • The Rangers didn’t really make it easy on themselves, though, or at least as easy as it could have been. With nine hits, five walks and the Rays errors, one would have hoped that Texas would have scored more than four runs. They ended up stranding 13 runners, and there was a sense of foreboding throughout the game, a sense that the failure to fully capitalize on all the scoring opportunities would come back to haunt.
  • In fact, I still kind of feel that way, even though the game is over. It is as if the failure to capitalize today means the Rangers start with like negative two runs on Wednesday, from my emotional state.
  • Ah, the joys of playoff baseball.
  • Everyone got on base except Josh Jung, and everyone got a hit except Jung and Robbie Grossman. The decision to have Grossman at DH and hitting third was curious — one would have expected that to be Mitch Garver. Tyler Glasnow has extreme platoon splits, however, so having the switch hitting Grossman face him instead of the righty Garver makes some sense, even though Garver has hit righties better than Grossman this year.
  • Bruce Bochy, in addition, structured the lineup so no two same handed (no switch hitting) batters were hitting back to back, making it more difficult for Rays manager Kevin Cash to take advantage of matchups with his bullpen.
  • While Jung didn’t get on base, he did contribute a sac fly that brought home the Rangers’ first run of the game. Run two scored when Corey Seager came home on a bases loaded wild pitch. Seager’s two run single brought home Evan Carter and Marcus Semien for the final two runs.
  • It was something of a coming out party for Carter. In his first ever playoff game, having been called up from AAA less than a month earlier, he had two walks, two doubles and a stolen base, along with the diving catch. Yes, he also had an error on a sixth inning single to allow Paredes to go to second, but that was just to show that he is, in fact, human.
  • All in all, pretty much nothing to complain about, other than leaving a few too many ducks on the pond. An extremely well played game, and if the Rangers can play like this on Wednesday, we’ll be seeing Baltimore next.
  • Jordan Montgomery hit 95.0 mph with his fastball. Aroldis Chapman reached 100.8 mph with his sinker. Jose Leclerc reached 98.3 mph with his fastball.
  • Adolis Garcia had a 109.9 mph single that bounced off of Tyler Glasnow and a 107.9 mph grounder that went for an E-6. Corey Seager had a 108.5 mph double. Josh Jung had a 105.5 mph lineout. Jonah Heim had a 102.5 mph single.
  • Nathan Eovaldi on the mound Wednesday with a chance to close it out. Wouldn’t it be nice…