Martin Perez, Matt Garza, and Alexi Ogando combined to throw 20.2 of a possible 27.2 innings during this weekend’s series in Kansas City, collectively allowing an impressive 2 ER on 14 hits. The offense, meanwhile, produced just one run on Friday, three runs on Saturday, and got goosed-egged on Sunday. It was a revolving door of Yu Darvish-like starts: good enough to win every time out, but not without some semblance of offensive support. In 3 games — in the most critical series of a season quickly escaping them — the Rangers were outscored by the Royals 7-4. Texas’s pitching staff gave up 7 runs in three games, and lost 2 out of 3. Unreal.
Alexi Ogando had one of the best starts of his career, at least as far as run prevention is concerned, blanking Kansas City on 2 hits in 7 innings and only 77 pitches. But, the offense just couldn’t get it done.
I remain flummoxed by this team.
Tanner Scheppers has been dynamic in recent days, and on Sunday afternoon tossed a perfect 1.1 innings, striking out 3 Royals.
Neal Cotts, the eventual loser, relieved Scheppers with one out in the 9th, retiring the final two hitters to send the game into extra innings.
To begin the bottom of the 10th, Cotts gave up a leadoff double to Eric Hosmer, and Ron Washington removed him from the game in favor of the righty-righty matchup Joakim Soria presented to Billy Butler.
This is where shit gets kinda fuzzy. With Soria in the game, Wash chose to use Soria to intentionally walk Butler — a move I never understand, because, why wouldn’t you just use Cotts to issue the free pass? — putting runners on 1st and 2nd with nobody out, ostensibly putting the double play in order.
A handful of batters later — after an infield single, foul out and fielder’s choice — Joakim Soria surrendered a walk-off grand slam at the hands of ex-Astro Justin Maxwell, and the Royals won 4-0.
Blah blah blah.
Now that the Rangers are a full game behind the Indians in the loss column, they are conceivably behind the 8 ball, no longer controlling their own destiny. Which sucks, especially given the remaining schedules between the two teams: Texas goes home to face the Astros for 3 and Angels for 4, while the Indians face off with Minnesota and Chicago — the two teams directly above Houston for worst record in the American League.
Without too much analysis, the rest of the Rangers season has become relatively elementary. With 7 games left, they basically have to go 5-2 to have a realistic crack at the postseason, but they will most likely have to win 6 of their next 7 to be comfortable.