Game 96: Grumble, Grumb
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 tonight’s 2-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox.
These were the moments that mattered…
1) Murphy Misstep — Martin Perez‘s only real hiccup in tonight’s game was when he walked Cody Ross to lead off the 4th. It looked as though he had worked around it when Kelly Shoppach hit a line drive to right. Unfortunately, David Murphy didn’t read the ball very well, initially taking a step in and then moving back in kind of an awkward route. His miscue was enough to put the ball out of reach and score the first run of the game.
2) MY Bad — Texas had a chance to take the lead in the 8th with men on the corners and two out. Instead of doing something productive, Michael Young ground out weakly for the fourth consecutive time. But, hey, leadership, y’know?
3) Remarkably UnNathan — Coming into the 9th, Joe Nathan had 5 walks all year. He recorded the first two outs on 6 pitches, but then couldn’t find the edges of the zone. The next two hitters walked and Mike Aviles flared a single over Elvis Andrus. That was your ballgame.
Also of note…
- The real tragedy is that the Rangers wasted such a fine performance from Perez. 6 innings, 5 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, and 1 strikeout. That would be enough to win on just about any other night.
- Sometimes you win as a team, sometimes you lose as a team. Last night was the former, tonight was the latter.
Josh Hamilton, Young, Nelson Cruz, and Craig Gentry all went 0-for-4 at the plate. Young and Gentry both had two at-bats with RISP, but failed to cash anything in. The only Ranger run came when Jamilton hit a slow chopper past the mound with Andrus on 3rd.
- Alexi Ogando and Mike Adams worked a 1-2-3 inning each and both recorded a strikeout in the process.
- Alfredo Aceves (the Red Sox closer) threw 8 pitches in the 9th. Mike Napoli saw 5 of those (as he drew his 3rd walk of the evening). The other 3 were spaced evenly between Cruz, Murphy, and Gentry, all three of whom recorded an out on the first pitch they saw.
Good job, guys. Good effort.
- One interesting thing to note is that Ron Washington used all of his position players in this game.
Everything was set into motion in the bottom of the 1st when Ian Kinsler was picked off of 1st. He didn’t think so and argued briefly. It was apparently enough to warrant an ejection from the umpire, so Alberto Gonzalez took his place at 2nd.
In the 8th inning, Brandon Snyder pinch-hit for Gonzalez (and struck out, doing his part to fail with the rest of the team). That would have put Snyder at 1st and Young at 2nd.
Later in the 8th, Adrian Beltre was hit in the helmet by a pitch and taken out as a precaution. Yorvit Torrealba was brought in as a pinch-runner.
That swung Snyder to 3rd, Napoli to 1st, and Torrealba took over catching duties. In the bottom of the 9th, Leonys Martin came in as a pinch-runner for Napoli and was stranded at 1st.
Would’ve been an interesting defensive alignment if Texas had tied things up, but it never got to that point.
- It’s being reported that Beltre does not have a concussion, so he should be good to go tomorrow.
This series wraps up tomorrow at 7:05 Arlington time. Derek Holland will toe the rubber on FSSW.
Press on, Rangers fans.
(Leave a comment or find me on Twitter @twbbg. Per usual, thanks to Baseball Reference for their invaluable resources.)