Well, that was a disappointment. After surging ahead to an early lead and then wasting it on a combination of walks and errors the Rangers battled back in the 9nth inning only to be foiled by a bottom of the ninth Brett Lawrie home run. Some notes from the game:
1. Drew Hutchinson – Strange start for the young pitcher. Strikes out the first four batters, than explodes for 5 runs in the second inning. Nevertheless, he persevered, got his groove back, and only allowed a few baserunners through the next four innings. The Rangers will be left wondering why they couldn’t chase him from the game.
2. Neftali Feliz – Not a great start. He gave up 6 walks in only 5 innings, and although he only gave up four hits, two were of the home run variety, which really harmed his final line. It looked like his fastball command was intermittent, and at times completely deserted him when he dialed it up to 98 to take on some of the tougher Jays hitters, like Encarnacion and Bautista. It could certainly have been worse: Feliz worked three double plays.
3. The 7th inning – Ross had just done beautifully to clean up the mess Feliz had left in the 6th inning, but he allowed 3 unearned runs over the course of an out-of-control 7th, where Andrus made an error, Napoli misplayed a bunt, and finally Ross had to be replaced and Ogando was sent in to clean up the next mess. Ogando did pretty well in inducing two ground ball outs, but both led to runs scored, and he allowed a single to score a straggling baserunner that cost the Rangers the lead.
4. Michael Young – Looked pretty terrible all game, including grounding into a double play which basically destroyed a Ranger rally in the 7th. He did, however, single in the 9nth to score the Ranger run that kept them in the game. So, leadership, or whatever.
5. Kinsler, Andrus, Murphy, and Gonzalez all looked great at the plate, with Andrus in particular standing out for driving the ball with power, and exercising better than usual plate discipline. I’m particularly pleased with Gonzalez, who is going to be a critical fill-in for infield injuries as they arise.
This game is the first game all year where I have been angry and disappointed at the outcome. With the Rangers up 5-0 in the second with Feliz on the mound, you don’t expect a loss on the ledger. I expect this game will be a great wake-up call to the team that on the importance of going out and dominating, not resting on their laurels. Last night was a great win, and tonight was a bad loss; we’ll see about tomorrow.