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Thoughts on a 9-4 Rangers win

Rangers 9, A’s 4

Oakland Athletics v Texas Rangers Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Rangers 9, A’s 4

  • It’s been a while since we’ve had one like that.
  • Though about an hour in it appeared we were going to have another ugly, unpleasant loss. Jon Gray, given a 3-0 lead after one, gave the lead up in the third. After a solo homer Gray retired the next two batters and seemed to be on track to get out of the third with that minimal damage. Two walks, though, followed by two singles resulted in a tie game, and Bruce Bochy had seen enough from Gray.
  • One of the advantages of having several guys in the pen who have spent most of the year in the rotation is that you can have a quick hook knowing there are options to provide length. Bochy went with Andrew Heaney, who has blown both hot and cold this year, and Heaney got someone named Lawrence Butler to hit a weak squibber towards third for what seemed to be an easy, inning-ending U5.
  • But no, nothing for the Rangers can be easy right now. The ball took a weird hop, got past Josh Smith at third, and the A’s took a 4-3 lead.
  • Then Andrew Heaney hit a batter to load the bases.
  • I felt sick to my stomach. It seemed like a repeat of so many games from the past three weeks. Tyler Soderstrom, who led the inning off with a homer, came back up, and I was bracing myself for bad things to happen. Another homer, a grand slam that would make it 8-3? A bases loaded walk? Another HBP? The roof appeared to be caving in, and it was just a question of how bad and in what form.
  • But no. Heaney struck Soderstrom out. Inning over. And the tide began to turn.
  • Slowly, it turned. Texas didn’t do anything offensively for a couple of innings, and Heaney allowed a runner to get to second in both the fourth and the fifth. But Heaney kept striking out batters, and kept Oakland off the board, until Texas could get something going again in the fifth.
  • Evan Carter started things off with a walk — and that’s a phrase we may be hearing quite a bit in the years to come. After Marcus Semien hit into a fielder’s choice, which could have potentially been a double play if Oakland starter Luis Medina hadn’t made a poor throw to second, Corey Seager doubled, putting runners at second and third. Nathaniel Lowe looped a single to left center, both runners scored, and it was 5-4 Rangers.
  • The next inning was when Texas broke it open. The much-maligned Leody Taveras led things off with a single. Josh Smith smoked a ball to right that ended up as a triple, then an Evan Carter sac fly brought Smith home. Marcus Semien, who started the bottom of the first with a leadoff homer, cranked another long ball for his second homer of the day before Corey Seager capped things off with a rocket right down the right field line for a homer.
  • That made it 9-4, against a last place team, in Arlington. A few months ago I would have considered it game over right then. But with how things have gone of late, I couldn’t feel confident. I worried. I fretted. I imagined how it would feel if the bullpen blew a five run lead with three innings to go to Oakland.
  • But it didn’t happen. Jose Leclerc pitched a scoreless seventh. Brock Burke pitched a scoreless eighth. And Cody Bradford finished it off with a scoreless ninth.
  • It was a win. A very much needed win.
  • Jon Gray topped out at 97.6 mph with his fastball. Andrew Heaney hit 94.5 mph. Jose Leclerc maxed out at 97.2 mph with his fastball. Brock Burke hit 98.1 mph. Cody Bradford reached 92.3 mph.
  • Corey Seager’s home run had an exit velocity of 114.4 mph, and he also had a 103.0 mph double, as well as a 100.9 mph fly out. Marcus Semien’s home runs had EVs of 108.1 mph and 99.4 mph, and he had a 102.9 mph single. Josh Smith’s triple was 109.4 mph. Robbie Grossman had a 102.4 mph double. Nathaniel Lowe had a 102.3 mph single.
  • Now on to Toronto, where Texas really needs to, at a minimum, split the four game set. Let’s see how it goes.