The Texas Rangers won an eventful, uneventful type of game last night 4-0 against the Kansas City Royals. There was fear of a letdown coming as this series was right after the emotional series victory over the rival Houston Astros. Manager Bruce Bochy addressed it with his team prior to the game. He has seen it hundreds of times throughout his career and he wanted to make sure it did not happen last night. The Astros win was big, but it loses its luster if they went and lost last night against the 4-12 Royals. Message was delivered by Bochy and received by the team.
Josh Jung was placed in the number four spot in the lineup for the first time in his career and he made his presence known in the first inning. After Marcus Semien and Travis Jankowski reached via errors, Josh Jung came up and did this.
Jung hit the ball 441 ft. It was a no doubt home run off of the bat. That made the score the 3-0 in the first inning. Jung is having quite the first month of the season and is putting himself in line to be the AL Rookie of the Month for April. So far this month he has a .304 batting average, with three home runs, nine RBI's, and a .857 OPS. He is doing it all hitting mainly in the middle of the lineup for the AL West leading Texas Rangers.
As far as the offense is concerned there was not much more done the rest of the night. Marcus Semien added a solo home run in the third inning. He added to his home run that he hit on Sunday night. That made the score 4-0. The team only had four hits the entire game. They also drew four walks, and only had three strikeouts on the night. It is almost like they put it into cruise control mode.
Performance of Jacob deGrom and the bullpen
They were able to do that because of a dominant effort from the pitching staff last night. Jacob deGrom got the start. It was his second consecutive start against the Royals. He went seven innings, giving up two runs last week in Arlington against Kansas City. Last night we got to see what kind of adjustments deGrom would make and if the Royals would be able to have more success the second time around.
When deGrom came to the mound he already had a 3-0 lead. He made quick work in the first inning with a 10-pitch 3 up and 3 down inning. He had it working last night. His control was on point. His slider had the Royals swinging at air. Through four innings he had only allowed two baserunners. Nate Eaton got on after an error on Nathaniel Lowe and deGrom walked Vinnie Pasquantino in the fourth inning. He had a no-hitter going through four and was only up to 58 pitches.
He did not come back out for the fifth inning. He was removed from the game with wrist soreness. If you want to read more about it our own Justin Lee wrote about it last night. Dane Dunning was brought in and continued to do what he has done all season. He gave up one hit in the fifth inning and then nothing else. No hits and no runs as his ERA stays at 0.00. He pitched into the ninth inning when he was removed with one out and one on in the inning. Jose Leclerc was then brought in and closed it out.
The Rangers avoided the letdown last night even though the offense was not all there. It was an eventful night as deGrom was removed from the game causing a Twitter meltdown and crowing from Mets fans until it was reported that it was just wrist soreness. Yet the Rangers allowed only one hit on the night and zero runs. It was a quick two hours and two minute game that the Rangers were able to add to their win column. The Rangers improved to 10-6 on the season and are now two games up on the Angels for the division lead.
Preview of Tonight's Game
The Rangers and Royals play in game two of the series tonight. It will be Nathan Eovaldi going up against Brad Keller in a rematch of the start from last Wednesday. The Royals won that game 10-1. Eovaldi struggled through five innings, giving up six runs. He did strike out seven and walked none. He will be looking to get back on track after that start.
Brad Keller breezed through his start as he pitched into the seventh inning and only gave up a solo home run to Nathaniel Lowe. He gave that up in the first inning and then nothing else through the next six innings. He finished with seven strikeouts and one walk. It was one of those games that the Rangers had won the first two games of the series and was caught looking ahead to the Astros series.
The Royals and Rangers start at 6:40pm tonight and the game will be aired on Bally Sports Southwest.