Game 74: 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 Monday night’s 8-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers.
These were the moments that mattered…
1) Who’s on 1st? — Things didn’t start out well for Justin Grimm, as Austin Jackson led off the game with a double. Things were exacerbated when Quintin Berry laid down a sac bunt with nobody covering 1st. Mike Napoli fielded the ball, Grimm watched him field the ball, Michael Young charged in from 1st (for some reason), and Ian Kinsler ran behind the bag as if he were backing up a throw. The Tigers scored 5 runs in the inning, 1 of which was Berry and 2 of which came with two outs.
2) SDI: The Bad Kind — The Rangers had a chance to get a couple back in the bottom of the 1st, putting two on with only one out. The opportunity would be squandered, however, as Adrian Beltre struck out on four pitches and Young hit a ground ball to 2nd.
3) Another Wasted Chance — Napoli led off the 5th with a double, but it would be another scoreless inning for Tiger pitching. Leonys Martin hit into a fielder’s choice, which put Martin at 2nd instead of Napoli. He did make it to 3rd, but was stranded on an Elvis Andrus ground out.
4) Are You Sensing a Theme Here? — Napoli had a chance to really put a dent in an 8-run deficit, as he stepped to the plate in the 6th with the bases loaded and two out. Instead, he swung right through a 3-2 pitch in the center square. Inning over. Rally dead.
Random Observation, Apropos of Nothing — Beltre has been hot recently, raising his batting average to .328 by going 3-for-5 tonight. Unfortunately, a lot of that effort feels wasted with Young batting behind him. Young currently sports a .297 OBP and a .348 SLG.
Beltre is hitting and getting on base, so wouldn’t it make sense to follow with someone who can also get on base and who can actually drive the ball? Just a thought.
Also of note…
- Grimm just didn’t have it tonight like he had it in his first start. He gave up 8 hits, 1 walk, and 6 runs in 1+ innings of work. The Tigers were either fouling everything off or hitting it where the fielders weren’t. Reminded me a lot of Colby Lewis‘ last start.
- Michael Kirkman pitched 5 innings and did well enough. He gave up 2 runs on 2 hits, walked 2, and struck out 5. Certainly his best showing since his return to Arlington. Mark Lowe picked up 3 scoreless innings at the back end, saving the other guys in the ‘pen for later in the series.
- Texas amassed 10 hits and left 12 men on base. All of the offense came in the 7th when Josh Hamilton hit a long-ball to deep right-center field. Jamilton also threw two bats in the same at-bat, which is a phenomenon that both baffles and frustrates me.
- Miguel Cabrera did the Miguel Cabrera thing, going 3-for-4 with a walk, 3 RBI, and a run scored. All told, the Tigers had just as many hits (10) as the Rangers. Theirs were all just bunched together.
- The word now is that Grimm is expected to make his scheduled start against Oakland. I have the same advice for him that I have for the fans: Forget this one and move on.
Yu Darvish takes the hill tomorrow at 7:05 Arlington time. It can be seen locally on FSSW and nationally on MLBN.
Press on, Rangers fans.
(Leave a comment or find me on Twitter @twbbg. Per usual, thanks to Baseball Reference for their invaluable resources.)