I’ve heard it said that the outcome of any given game comes down to just a handful of plays. I’ll do my best to pinpoint those plays from tonight’s 2-0 win over the Chicago White Sox.
These were the moments that mattered…
1) Das Boot — In the 3rd inning — with the score tied 0-0, two out, and Josh Hamilton on 3rd — Mike Napoli hit a soft ground ball to short. Alexei Ramirez should have been able to throw out the Ranger backstop easily, but the ball skipped up into the heel of his glove and kicked away. The usually sure-handed shortstop was charged with an error and Texas took a 1-0 lead.
2) Something Outta Nothing — Nelson Cruz led off the 5th with a double and advanced to 3rd on a Jamilton ground out. Michael Young dribbled a Gavin Floyd offering out in front of the mound and the pitcher pounced on it. As soon as Floyd released the throw to 1st, Cruz broke for the plate, scoring easily. It was the sort of gutsy play you’d like to see more of when the team is struggling like they have been.
Also of note…
- Even though he didn’t make it into the MtM, Scott Feldman was the real story of the game after putting up 8 innings of shutout baseball (with 7 hits, no walks, and 5 strikeouts). He also threw (only!) 88 pitches, 63 of which were strikes.
It was fine pitching on a night when Texas desperately needed a stopper.
- Joe Nathan pitched a perfect 9th (with a strikeout and some help from his defense) and earned his 21st save of the year.
- Though they did eke out the win, the offense continued to sputter. For the series, Ranger bats were 1-for-31 with RISP (the 1 being a 3-run homerun from Nelson Cruz in the 1st inning of game 1).
- Despite loading the bases in the first 2 innings and never getting set down 1-2-3 by White Sox pitching, Texas only scored the 2 runs. Something can be said for getting a lot of men on base, but sooner or later you’ve got to bring some in.
- Napoli and Adrian Beltre both went 0-for at the plate, as did Young (with a walk) and Jamilton (with 2 walks). Craig Gentry somehow managed to get hit twice.
- The Angels come to town tomorrow for a 4-game set, perhaps the most important of the season. We’ll all be sleeping a lot better if Texas can put a little distance between themselves and one of their more dangerous rivals.
Roy Oswalt will take the hill at 6:05 Arlington time on FSSW (and ESPN, for those out of state).
Press on, Rangers fans.