All day on Saturday, fans were refreshing twitter trying to see if their favorite accounts had posted updated information about Jacob deGrom. deGrom was removed from his start on Friday in the fourth inning. Manager Bruce Bochy could only say after the game that it was forearm tightness and that he would be reevaluated on Saturday. So fans anxiously awaited the news all Saturday afternoon.
Finally, in the two hours before first pitch word finally came down that deGrom would be going on the 15-day IL with right elbow inflammation. He will be resting and then be looked at again in 7-10 days. Everywhere you looked that was the story about the Rangers. It was so loud from both media and fans alike. Nathan Eovaldi last night was able to shut out that noise and quiet both the fans and media for a night.
The noise that was being heard said that the Texas Rangers would go back to being that 94 loss team they were in 2022 without deGrom. It also said that they do not have the pitching to survive without deGrom going every fifth day. The loudest noise from fans and media alike was that the season is over without deGrom.
All Eovaldi did last night was throw a complete game shutout on 113 pitches, with eight strikeouts, and zero walks. He retired the last 15 hitters he faced last night. He went out there with his performance and told the fans, the media, and the other teams in MLB that the Rangers are still here. They are still in first place. They will survive this stretch for however long it will be without deGrom, much like they have survived the nearly three weeks without Seager that they have done so far.
Eovaldi did this last night, by being effective with nearly every pitch he threw. His fastball was working in the high 90's last night, which made his splitter, and curveball that much more effective. He was able to command his pitches. Finally, he pitched with pace. He was not lingering on the mound, he was getting the ball from the catcher and almost immediately pitching it. The game time last night was 2:06 and the main reason for that was Eovaldi's tempo. It was truly a masterpiece to watch and showed why the Rangers were so excited to sign him back in December.
You also cannot talk about last night's game without mentioning Ezequiel Duran. Whereas Eovaldi kept the game quiet, Duran played the game very loudly. When Seager went down it was thought that Josh Smith would get the lion's share of the starts at shortstop. He is better defensively and does just enough on offense to not lose you a game. In the nearly three weeks since Duran's bat has really come alive and his defense has been more than adequate and Bochy is rolling with Duran against both right-handers and left-handers.
Over the last 15 games, Duran has a .348 batting average, a .931 OPS, two home runs, and 10 RBI's. A lot of this success is coming from a higher batting average against breaking balls and offspeed pitches. His max exit velocity ranks in the 91st percentile of all MLB hitters and his hard hit percentage ranks in the 85th percentile of all MLB hitters. When he does make hard contact it it is leaving the bat at over 100mph.
That leads to his game last night. He went 2-3 last night. He had a third inning single that had an exit velocity of 105.3mph. Then in the fifth he loudly announced his presence with this hit.
It was an absolute bomb to left field that left his bat at 111.7mph. That gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead. Eovaldi made sure that there would be no blown leads last night. He took that 2-0 lead into the sixth and made it hold up by retiring everyone he faced.
The Rangers with the win improved their record to 16-11 and with everyone in the division losing yesterday were able to increase their division lead. They now lead the Astros by two games and are guaranteed to enter May with the AL West division lead for the first time since 2016. The next hurdle to climb will be to get to Memorial Day with the lead.
Preview of Today's Game
The Rangers and Yankees face off in the series finale this afternoon. It will be Martin Perez facing Nestor Cortes. The Rangers will be looking to get a series win, while the Yankees will be trying to leave town with a split.
Perez is coming off what should have been a win. He pitched into the seventh inning, gave up zero runs, and struck out five, and walked one. As we know the bullpen blew the lead in the eighth and kept Perez from getting his fourth win of the season. He will be trying again today to get that fourth win.
Cortes is once again putting up good numbers for the Yankees. He is 3-1 on the season with a 3.49 ERA. He is coming off his first loss of the season. He went five innings against the Twins. He gave up three runs, struck out six, and walked one. The Yankees lost 6-2 in that game. He also will be looking for win number four in this contest.
The game time is 1:30pm and the game will be aired locally on Bally Sports Southwest.