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 Tuesday night’s 7-6 win over the Oakland A’s.
These were the moments that mattered…
1) Surprise! — Texas fell behind by a run in the 1st, but Ian Kinsler came back with a lead-off double in the bottom half of the inning. Elvis Andrus hit a ball foul on the right side for an easy out, but Kinsler broke for 3rd as Josh Reddick put it away. Reddick was caught off-guard and made a hasty throw up the line. Kinsler’s aggressiveness put him 90 feet away and he knotted the score on a Josh Hamilton ground ball to 2nd.
2) Walk this Way — To lead off the 5th, Leonys Martin worked the count full, then took a walk. That would be the catalyst for a productive, multi-run middle inning, which included two infield singles, two stolen bases, and two more walks.
3) Cashing In — It also included a bit more David Murphy magic, as he stepped to the plate with the bases loaded, two out, and the score tied at 4. Murphy slapped the first pitch he saw to the right side for a 2-run single and the lead.
4) Something Out of Nothing — With an out in the 6th, Andrus walked and stole 2nd. The throw by the catcher got away and Andrus advanced to 3rd without issue. Adrian Beltre hit a sac-fly to drive him in and Texas scored the winning run on speed, heads-up baseball, and 0 hits.
Random Observation, Apropos of Nothing — Scott Feldman must be the least intimidating pitcher in baseball history. Nothing about his demeanor, body language on the mound, or his Amish beard would frighten me as a hitter. He is the Anti-Gibson.
Also of note…
- Feldman proved (yet again) why he doesn’t fit as a mainstay in this rotation.
He didn’t get lit up or anything, but nothing was really on. Too many pitches off the black or right down the middle. He was pulled after 5+ innings after giving up 4 runs on 9 hits, walking 1 and striking out 3. His last outing remains the only start in which he pitched at least 6 innings.
- Because of Feldman’s short outing, the already taxed bullpen had to go 4 innings. Tanner Scheppers got out of a Feldman jam in the 6th. Robbie Ross got out of Scheppers jam in the 7th. Mike Adams had trouble throwing strikes in the 8th. Joe Nathan got out of his own jam in the 9th to preserve the win.
Matt Harrison won’t have much help behind him tomorrow night, so he may be out there for a while even if he struggles.
- Texas scored 7 runs on 14 hits, but only 2 of those hits were for extra bases. Kinsler hit his double in the 1st and Michael Young hit a double of his own in the 7th. The Rangers also had 6 walks to go along with their 12 singles.
- While the Rangers failed to go deep, the A’s had three long-balls off of Feldman. All three were solo shots.
- Speaking of Young, he’s been playing some little league ball the last few days. Last night he botched a rundown at 1st and tonight he had two very questionable moments on the offensive side of the ball.
In the 5th, as the Rangers attempted to pile on runs, Young stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and no outs. Jamilton and Beltre had both just walked and Young took the first pitch for the seventh (7th!) straight ball from the Oakland hurler. The next pitch was a high borderline strike and Young jumped on it for a harmless foul-out to 1st. I know Young’s not a patient, high OBP kind of guy, but don’t you have to at least make the pitcher throw a strike before you gift him an out?
The other moment came after Young’s lead-off double in the 7th. Cruz was at-bat and popped one up to very shallow right (it couldn’t have been more than 20 feet from 2nd base). The A’s failed to make the catch and Young took off for 3rd as the ball fell between two or three fielders. Reddick was standing right there, so he picked it up and threw Young out by a good 8-10 feet.
If the Rangers had lost, you might have seen both of those plays in tonight’s Moments that Mattered. They’re inexcusable for a 13-year veteran.
As mentioned above, Harrison takes the hill tomorrow night. I expect him to throw a complete game, 2-hit shutout to make up for tonight’s 4 hour epic. It can be seen on TXA-21 at 7:05 Arlington time.
Press on, Rangers fans.