Game 72: Moments that Mattered


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 Saturday afternoon’s 11-7 loss to the Colorado Rockies.

These were the moments that mattered…

1) Killer SpeedJonathan Herrera led off the game with a single and Yorvit Torrealba was unable to throw him out as he stole both 2nd and 3rd. Jason Giambi hit a sinking line drive that ticked off of Nelson Cruz‘s glove, leading to the first of many Rockie runs.
2) Opportunity Squandered — Cruz and Mike Napoli led off the 2nd with back-to-back singles and Torrealba laid down a sacrifice bunt that moved both into scoring position. Craig Gentry had a chance to at least tie the 1-0 ballgame, but weakly popped out to shortstop. Both runners would be stranded, which we would see a lot of in today’s game.
3) The Error Which Wasn’t — Things started to unravel in the 3rd, but it wasn’t entirely Colby Lewis‘ fault. Napoli face planted on a slow ground ball to 1st, which should have resulted in at least the second out. Lewis did his best with the bases loaded, but 4 runs would come around to score before the inning was through. The play itself was ruled an infield hit, but in my mind it should have been an error. No reason for a Major League 1st baseman to not make a play like that.
4) Outta Reach — Lewis was done after 4 innings and Michael Kirkman came in to pitch the 5th. With the Rangers down 8-1, the Rockies struck quickly with 3 runs on 3 hits. Kirkman gave up a double and back-to-back homeruns before recording a single out. Texas would stage a comeback, but Kirkman’s efforts would make it impossible to overtake Colorado in the late innings.

Random Observation, Apropos of Nothing — The Rangers did put together a big inning in the 5th, which Brandon Snyder kicked off with a single. Texas actually batted all the way around, but Snyder was replaced by David Murphy, presumably because of the pitching match-up. The rally ended on Murphy’s hard-hit line drive to 1st.
Not sure how often a hitter leads-off an inning and is then pinch-hit for to end the same inning, but I would bet it’s a rare occurrence.

Also of note…

As Lewis is prone to do, he turned in a weird outing this afternoon. He pitched only 4 innings and gave up 8 runs (7 earned) on 12 hits. Of the 12 hits, 9 were singles and the other 3 were doubles. Lewis was essentially pecked to death, as little was hit very hard or right at any fielder. He did strikeout 6 and walk none, which has been a trend of his all season long.

  • Josh Outman (the Rockie starter) is undoubtedly a scrub. He came into the game with an ERA over 8 and no wins. That being said, he does get props for making smart, mid-game adjustments. His fastball got hammered early, so he went to off-speed stuff. It was mostly effective, though he did hang a few breaking balls and started to run out of steam in the 5th.
  • Cruz started the scoring in the 4th with a solo homerun and added a 3-run blast to dead center an inning later. Michael Young also had a nice day at the plate, going 2-for-5 with a single and a double. Hopefully — Hopefully! — those two are starting to heat up again, because that would be a huge boost to an already dangerous offense.
  • Josh Hamilton had an absolutely abysmal afternoon. He went 0-for-5 with 4 strike outs and a ground out. Every spot in the line-up recorded a hit, except for Jamilton’s. He was also charged with a throwing error that bounced off of a runner at the plate and led to an unearned run.
  • The Rangers actually had plenty of chances to score, and in more than just the 5th. They left men in scoring position in the first 2 innings. They also had the lead-off man aboard in each of the last 4 innings. Unfortunately, they were never able to capitalize outside of their one offensive outburst.

  • Kirkman pitched 2 innings of relief, the second of which was of the 1-2-3 variety. Mark Lowe also pitched 2 innings and was helped greatly when Murphy threw a runner out at the plate. Tanner Scheppers had an uneventful 9th.
  • Craig Gentry started in center field, but aggravated his ankle injury from last night’s game. He was replaced by Snyder and then Murphy. I’d expect him to take tomorrow off, what with the Rockies starting pitcher being right-handed. We may see Leonys Martin making the start in either center or left.
  • The featured image for this article is

    Adrian Beltre

    (apparently) trying to karate kick one of the Rockies in the face, though the player looks more amused than frightened. I don’t actually remember this happening and it has nothing to do with the game, but I found the image too funny to ignore. It is re-posted it below, for your consideration.

    Tomorrow’s game will be a rare Sunday night game that doesn’t air on ESPN. It starts at 6:05 Arlington time on FSSW. Matt Harrison will try to win his 10th game of 2012.

    Press on, Rangers fans.

    (Leave a comment or find me on Twitter @twbbg. Per usual, thanks to Baseball Reference for their invaluable resources.)