I’ve heard it said that the outcome of any given game comes down to about 4 plays. I’ll do my best to pinpoint those plays from Wednesday night’s game against the Oakland A’s.
These were the moments that mattered…
1) Mitch Keeps Slumpin’ — The Rangers’ best scoring chance came in the 2nd inning when they loaded the bases with one out. Mitch Moreland stepped to the plate and rolled over the second pitch for a 4-6-3 double play. A’s pitching would face the minimum in 6 of the next 7 innings.
2) Jump On It — Yoenis Cespedes would lead-off the next half inning with a double on the first pitch he saw. Two batters later Brandon Inge would single him in for the first run of the game. It would turn out to be the only run that Oakland needed.
3) Hackin’ Away — If Texas was going to get anything going, they needed to work the count to get Bartolo Colon out of the game. That wasn’t really in the cards, as Colon threw only 4 pitches in the top of the 3rd. Ian Kinsler singled on the second pitch he saw, Elvis Andrus ground into a double play on the next pitch, and Josh Hamilton flied out on the pitch after that. That was Oakland’s big shutdown inning of the night.
4) A Foot Off the Black — Moreland’s at-bat in the 8th was significant only in that it sort of summed up the night for the Ranger offense. I refer you to this chart and specifically to pitch #5. That would be the called third strike, which was literally a foot outside. It’s hard to put a rally together when you’re dealing with that sort of inconsistency.
Also of note…
- Colby Lewis turned out a solid 8 inning, 2-run, 3 strikeout, no walk performance. He did everything he could (beyond driving in 3 runs himself) and took the loss. Tough luck, but I think it shows what kind of game Lewis is capable of on any given night.
- Texas was shutout for the first time all season. The hitters looked befuddled for most of the night, but it wasn’t entirely their fault (refer to point #4 above).
- Beyond the questionable zone, there was another weird moment at the plate in the 7th inning. With Nelson Cruz at-bat and two strikes against him, the umpire called a foul tip where there appeared to be none.
Cruz turned his bat as he shied away from a pitch up and in. Kurt Suzuki caught the the ball and the umpire called Cruz out. He apparently didn’t know he was out, as he just stood there. Upon being told that he was out, he calmly made his case for a few moments before going back to the dugout.
Watching the replay, I never heard the ball make contact and it didn’t seem to be redirected at all. Just one of those things, I guess.
- Coming into tonight’s game, Josh Hamilton was 21 of 81 since his power binge a few weeks back. Tonight he went 1 for 4, which is right in line with that trend. A player hitting .250 for a few weeks isn’t anything to be alarmed about, but Jamilton looks very mortal right now. Hopefully he’s almost out of this slump, ’cause I’d just as well see him punishing the ball again very soon.
- Tonight’s game was frustrating, but it came in at only 2 hours and 4 minutes. At least the Rangers didn’t prolong our suffering.
There’s a quick turnaround tomorrow as Yu Darvish takes the hill at 2:35 Arlington time on FSSW.
Press on, Rangers fans.