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Thoughts on a 2-1 Rangers win

Rangers 2, Mariners 1

Texas Rangers v Seattle Mariners Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Rangers 2, Mariners 1

  • For the first time since Game Three of the 2023 MLB Championship Season, the Texas Rangers won a one run game.
  • Strangely enough, both of the Rangers’ one run wins this year have been by the score of 2-1.
  • If you want to get all narrative-y, this was a Game Championship Contenders Find A Way To Win. Jon Gray, who has struggled to find his command this season, gave up a homer in the bottom of the first inning to put Texas behind. Logan Gilbert was perfect through six innings. They were on the road. A few innings in you’d have gotten long odds on the Rangers winning this game.
  • But they did. Gray pitched backwards, going with his fastball less than a third of the time, relying on his slider, which he threw 36 times (out of 89 pitches), as well as his changeup and curve, to vex the Mariners hitters. Gray struck out eight batters and walked no one. After the Ty France first inning home run — which, Statcast notes helpfully, would have been a homer in just 6 of 30 parks — Gray got into trouble just once. In the bottom of the fifth he loaded the bases with one out courtesy of a pair of singles and a HBP, giving Julio Rodriguez the opportunity to blow the game wide open. Gray got Rodriguez to hit into a 5-4-3 GIDP, the first of seven straight batters that Gray retired to end his outing.
  • Even the much maligned bullpen did its job, allowing no hits and no walks over the final two innings, recording five out of six outs via strikeout. There were a pair of HBPs in the bottom of the eighth by Jonathan Hernandez, putting two on with two out, but Brock Burke was brought in to face Jarred Kelenic, who he fanned swinging.
  • The offense didn’t do much, but it didn’t have to. Marcus Semien broke up the perfecto with a single leading off the top of the seventh. A Nathaniel Lowe single and an Adolis Garcia walk loaded the bases for Josh Jung, who tied the game with a sac fly. Jonah Heim then chased Gilbert with an RBI single that gave the Rangers the lead.
  • Winning a one run game in Seattle after getting no baserunners for the first six innings? Maybe this year is different...
  • Jon Gray topped out at 96.7 mph with his fastball. Jonathan Hernandez hit 98.9 mph with his sinker. Brock Burke threw four pitches, all sliders, the fastest of which was 88.5 mph. Will Smith reached 93.8 mph with his fastball.
  • Nathaniel Lowe had a 106.3 mph single. Josh Jung had a 103.9 mph groundout and a 101.0 mph flyout. Marcus Semien’s singles were 102.3 mph and 100.3 mph. Ezequiel Duran had a 100.4 mph lineout.
  • Texas is now two games up on the Angels, and 4.5 games up on Houston and Seattle. Let’s see if they can keep this going.