Game 64: Moments that Mattered
By Mike Luna
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 Thursday night’s 11-3 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
These were the moments that mattered…
1) Overkilled by Overbay — The decision with the most impact came before tonight’s game, when Kirk Gibson put Lyle Overbay into the line-up for the first time in this series. Overbay hadn’t played in 9 days, but would be in the middle of almost everything tonight.
2) The Feldman Special — After scoring a run in the 1st, the Rangers probably wanted to see Scott Feldman get three quick outs. No such luck, as Overbay hit a 1-out single and Jason Kubel planted a 2-0 pitch over the wall. Arizona took the lead for good.
3) E Eats Everything — Feldman didn’t get a lot of help in the field, as Mitch Moreland committed his first error (of the year) in the 3rd. That put two men on with two out. Overbay (There he is again….) took the very next pitch deep to left center for a 2-run double.
4) Feldman’s Unfortunate Fate — The score was only 4-1 in the 6th, but Miguel Montero led off the inning with a double. Overbay (Yeah! OVERBAY! AGAIN!!) followed it up with a double of his own, which chased Feldman from the game. Tanner Scheppers would come in, allow the inherited runner to score, and give up 3 runs of his own. That was your back-breaker.
Random Observation, Apropos of Nothing — For the third night in a row, Josh Hamilton tossed a bat into the stands. It seems like he only does this when he’s really getting fooled by off-speed pitches, so the frequency of bat-tosses might be indicative of how locked-in he is.
I also don’t find the tosses particularly funny or charming. One of these days he’s really going to hurt somebody and no one will be chuckling or shrugging it off then.
Also of note…
- Feldman’s performance wasn’t abysmal. He allowed 4 earned runs in 5+ innings, struck out 6, and walked nobody. It was the sort of a ho-hum start you expect from him and the offense didn’t do much of anything to pick him up. The guy just can’t win, both literally and figuratively.
- One of the things that most bothers me about Feldman is his seeming inability to get shutdown innings when he needs them. Often, after the Rangers give him the lead, he gives it right back. This year his ERA is 13.50 following an inning where Texas scores. That’s a bad way to make a living.
- Tonight’s significant offense came in the 1st (Elvis Andrus double, Adrian Beltre single) and the 7th (Beltre double, David Murphy homerun).
- Scheppers did not look good tonight. His pitches were either way outside or right down the middle. He was doing a lot more throwing than he was pitching and it looks like he could be the next bullpen goat.
- Mark Lowe used to be the goat, but he threw a scoreless inning tonight, as did Michael Kirkman. Yoshinori Tateyama allowed 2 runs in the top of the 9th, not that there was much chance of a comeback at that point.
- Honestly, tonight was one of those nights where everything went right for Arizona and nothing went right for the Rangers. You’re going to have those nights, but lately it seems like Texas is all or nothing. They’ve won the last two series, but each win seems to come on an almost superhuman pitching performance (3 shutouts and a 9-1 win). I like that pitchers are pitching well, but the offense needs to pick them up from time to time and they just aren’t.
- Ian Kinsler got thrown out of the game after striking out in the 6th. He did argue a strike, but went back to the dugout before he was tossed. That tells me the umpire was looking for a fight, which I hate. I hate tough-guy umpires. There’s no reason to “prove a point” when a guy is just frustrated and isn’t even on the field. Act like a professional, blue.
- In case you hadn’t heard, Koji Uehara is going to join Neftali Feliz, Derek Holland, and Alexi Ogando on the DL. It doesn’t sound serious, but it’s yet another weapon not at Wash’s disposal. Texas can’t take too many more hits like this if they want to stay in front of the Angels.
- In other pitching news, the Rangers are bringing up Justin Grimm (from AA) to make a spot start for Ogando, who was originally starting for Holland. To make room for Grimm, Feliz has been moved to the 60-day DL and can’t be activated until at least July 18th. Grimm will make his Major League debut Saturday night.
That was kind of a beating, but you can always turn things around tomorrow. Yu Darvish takes on the Astros at 7:05 Arlington time on TXA-21.
Press on, Rangers fans.
(Leave a comment or find me on Twitter @BleacherSeatsTX. Per usual, thanks to Baseball Reference for their invaluable resources.)