Texas Rangers can win games late
This Texas team has won a lot of games, but one aspect that has really held this team back is their ability to come back and win games late. Prior to Sunday's comeback against the Cleveland Guardians they had not had a win when trailing in the eighth inning. They have had come from behind wins, but most of the rallies took place in the middle and not late innings. They have now come from behind late in three of the four games post All-Star break.
Monday night was another come-from-behind win. They were down 2-0 early and it stayed that way through the first five innings. The offense just kept pushing and finally, in the sixth against McClanahan, Robbie Grossman led the inning off with a single and then a slumping Ezequiel Duran stepped to the plate.
Just like that the game was tied. Tampa was one inning away from handing off a 2-0 lead to their bullpen. Duran made sure that was not going to hold. It was noted that prior to that at-bat Duran had been ice cold at the plate. He has 15 strikeouts this month and zero walks. That included multiple strikeout games both on Friday and Sunday in starts against the Guardians. He needed that home run to pick himself back up and hopefully get back on the right track.
Duran's home run is just another player coming through with a timely hit. The Rangers since the break have been much better with runners in scoring position. They are 12-33 in that situation, which is good for a .364 batting average. That is more in-line with the success they had through May.
Duran was not the only one with a timely hit. Josh Jung in the ninth led off with a hard-hit double that went right past Jose Siri in center field. Nathaniel Lowe came up and moved him to third on a ground ball to the second baseman. That put pinch-runner Josh Smith at third with two outs and Mitch Garver at the plate against former Ranger Pete Fairbanks. In this situation Garver would not be required to swing the bat to win the game.
If Lowe does not move Smith over with that groundball then Josh Smith would not have been in position to score. The Rangers did what they needed to do and won the game. Their ability to win this game was not all because of the offense.