Game 91: Late Inning Letdown
By Mike Luna
I’ve heard it said that the outcome of any given game comes down to just a handful of plays. I’ll do my best to pinpoint those plays from today’s 4-3 loss to the Oakland A’s.
These were the moments that mattered…
1) Alexi Again? — Alexi Ogando pitched in last night’s game after just coming off of the DL and he did not look particularly sharp. Unfortunately, Wash did the most Wash-like thing possible and trotted him out there in the 7th with no outs and a man on 2nd. He walked the first batter that he faced and allowed 2 runs to score before the inning was through. That tied the game at 3 and set up Oakland’s late-game heroics.
2) The Napoli Thing to Do — The Rangers had a chance to reclaim the lead in the 9th when Nelson Cruz led off with a double. Mike Napoli stepped to the plate with the chance to do something (anything!) and instead swung through three fastballs right down the middle.
There was nothing fancy about the fastballs, no discernible deception. It was just Napoli doing the only thing he’s been able to do consistently this year: strikeout.
Also of note…
- The A’s walked off in the 9th when some guy named Brandon Hicks took Michael Kirkman deep for his first career homerun. So, uh, at least we all got to see history…or something.
- Colby Lewis started this game and pitched well after 25 days on the DL. He threw 5 innings exactly, but seemed to run out of gas near the end. He gave up 3 hits, walked 2, struck out 3, and allowed 1 run (on his obligatory solo HR of the afternoon).
- Travis Blackley flummoxed, baffled, and downright embarrassed the Rangers on July 1st, but Texas managed to tack on 3 runs on 6 hits and a walk before his day was through. It was almost enough…but then it wasn’t.
- Wash’s bullpen management the last two days hasn’t done a whole lot for me. Maybe he’s trying to get Ogando back into a groove before this weekend’s showdown in Anaheim, I don’t know.
Just as in last night’s game, Robbie Ross gave up a hit and Wash immediately subbed in Ogando, who walked the first batter he faced.
He worked out of it last night, but was not so lucky today.
- More perplexing is Wash’s decision not to use either Mike Adams or Joe Nathan. Blame Kirkman for the loss if you want, but it was the manager who sent Kirkman out for a second inning of work and left his two best relievers on the bench.
- Not that it matters in the grand scheme of things, but one of the runs that scored in the 7th was on Ross’ ledger. It was the first run allowed by Ross since May 14th. He now sports an ERA of 1.12, which isn’t quite as good as 0.95, but is still pretty good.
Texas has an off day tomorrow, but will face off against the Angels Friday night on TXA-21 at 9:05 Arlington time. Derek Holland will probably toe the rubber opposite Anaheim ace Jered Weaver.
Press on, Rangers fans.
(Leave a comment or find me on Twitter @twbbg. Per usual, thanks to Baseball Reference for their invaluable resources.)