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 Monday night’s 2-1 win over the San Diego Padres.
These were the moments that mattered…
1) Get What You Need — There wouldn’t be a lot of scoring in this one, but the Rangers got the job done back in the 1st. With Elvis Andrus on and two out, Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz both took walks. Those walks were key, as they set up a bases-loaded single by David Murphy, which scored 2 early runs and ultimately won the game.
2) Maybin Misread? — Matt Harrison came out with a 2-run lead, but didn’t look sharp early. He started the game by giving up back-to-back singles, then a long (maybe 2 feet from going over the wall) double over Leonys Martin‘s head. Standing at 1st was Cameron Maybin, a speedy center fielder, but he only wound up at 3rd, for reasons unknown. He should have scored, as the ball hit at the top of the wall and rolled back into the field, past Martin. My only theory is that maybe he thought it would be caught. Either way, it was a huge play, as the Padres scored their one and only run of the game.
3) MY: Defensive Wizard — People give Michael Young a lot of guff for his defense, but he can turn in a nice play from time-to-time. One such play came in the bottom of the 6th, when the bases were loaded with two out. San Diego brought in a pinch-hitter that chopped a slow roller down the 1st baseline, almost like a bunt. Young charged it, handled it cleanly, and made a soft toss to Harrison, who caught it barehanded and beat the runner to the bag. That would be the end of Harrison’s night, but what a way to end it.
4) Martin Magic — Mike Adams pitched against the Padres for the first time since being traded to Texas last season. He certainly made things interesting, as he gave up a single, got two out, and hit a batter. A pinch-hitter stepped in and lined a pitch into left, where Martin had replaced Murphy. Martin seemed to be tracking it all the way, but almost overran it before pulling it down to end the inning. It was a rare case of a fielder actually bailing himself out.
Random Observation, Apropos of Nothing — San Diego’s starting pitcher (Jason Marquis) looks a lot like his old Minnesota teammate Carl Pavano. He even has the same creeper ‘stache as Pavano. If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear they were brothers.
Also of note…
- Harrison seemed to have trouble getting comfortable early on. His delivery looked rushed (even for him) and he was falling off the mound very quickly. Even without his best stuff, he managed to grind out 6 innings of 1-run ball on 6 hits, 2 walks, and 4 strikeouts. Like to see him keep it together mentally, even on a night when everything isn’t clicking. That’s what separates Harrison of the past from Harrison of the present.
- Marquis pitched very well, which was something that he wasn’t doing earlier in the season with the Twins. He gave up only 5 hits in 7 innings and struck out 10. The 2 walks in the 1st were enough to ruin his night, so sometimes timing is everything.
- Two of the Mikes (Napoli & Young) could probably forget their offensive efforts from this game. Mike Napoli went 0-for-4 with 3 strikeouts. Young went 0-for-4 with 4 ground outs. Not much of a showing from either.
- Harrison was relieved by Mark Lowe, who pitched a perfect, high-leverage 7th. Adams pitched the 8th and Joe Nathan gave up 2 hits before nailing down the save.
- If you pay any attention to Twitter, you probably heard something about Dave Barnett (the FSSW play-by-play guy) in the 8th inning. I’ll try to paint the picture for you, because it’s something that I’m still trying to put together.
Mike Adams was in the game and had two men on with two out. Mike Maddux came out for a mound visit and Barnett attempted to run down the situation. To quote Barnett “…the tying run at 2nd, a lead-off single by Chase Headley. Go ahead run [lengthy pause] is at [shorter pause] 5th. On what Adams is insisting on calling it a botched robbery. What actually happened was, his henchmen [another pause] took a piece literally out of…”
At this point, Barnett starts to trail off and Tom Grieve says something before both mics cut out. There’s a few beats of silence from both announcers and then the broadcast resumes as normal.
I was only half paying attention as this went on, so I wasn’t entirely sure if I had heard what I thought I had heard. Now that it’s been confirmed, I can say that it was the single weirdest moment of live broadcasting that I can remember.
My first thought was that it may be something medical (like a stroke), but everything seemed fine after he and TAG laid out for a moment. I don’t think anybody wishes that kind of ill on Barnett, even if fans do sometimes rag on him for his style and occasional brain cramp. I’ll be keeping an eye out for news and hoping for the best.
- Tomorrow’s game should be interesting, if only because Josh Hamilton is expected to be back in the line-up and Edinson Volquez is expected to be pitching for San Diego. For those of you unawares, Volquez was sent to the Reds as part of the deal that brought Jamilton to Texas. As far as I know, they’ve never faced one another.
Tomorrow’s game is another late start (9:05 Arlington time) on FSSW. Scott Feldman will take the hill and try, yet again, to secure his first win of the season.
You stay classy, Rangers fans.