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Rangers 3, Astros 2
- A sweep of those awful Astros. See, over the course of a long season, even one with a bunch of losses, there will be good things that happen.
- Mike Foltynewicz came through for Texas today. 7 innings, just 3 hits allowed along with 2 walks, He only struck out 2 but hey, we will take that today. After three straight shaky outings Folty got a Quality Start and lowered his ERA to 4.53.
- He didn’t get the win, however. Josh Sborz came into the game in the eighth to protect a two run lead. Sborz has been Sbolid lately, but he went single-single-K-single before being lifted for Brett Martin. Martin, asked to put out a bases loaded fire, allowed a run on a wild pitch (though the play at the plate was closer than one would expect) and then another run on a ground out. Once the inning was over another late Ranger lead had been coughed up and the game was tied at 2.
- Ian Kennedy shut the Astros down in the ninth, the Rangers didn’t score, and then John King, asked to deal with the ghost runner in the tenth, gave up an 0-2 single to Jose Altuve to start the inning. Jason Castro was on second, though, and he’s a catcher, and thus stopped at third. King got a pop out, a K, and an F-8 (that Adolis Garcia came in for then jumped to catch, which was very briefly alarming), setting the stage for the bottom of the tenth.
- Texas had done little offensively all game. They scored a run in the fifth on four walks — the last by Nate Lowe, who laid off a couple of good Brooks Raley breaking balls to ultimately draw a 3-2 walk — and another in the seventh when Nick Solak doubled home Willie Calhoun. The tenth had Solak placed at second and the middle of the order due up. Nate Lowe grounded out to second, which put Solak at third with one out.
- That brought up Adolis Garcia. Garcia took a four seamer for strike one, then sent a grounder back up the middle that Jose Altuve gloved, but couldn’t get home nearly in time to catch Solak, and the Rangers won once again courtesy of an Adolis walkoff.
- The question after the game was, why did Houston pitch to Adolis, rather than walking him to pitch to Joey Gallo? It would set up the double play and bring up a batter who strikes out a lot, while avoiding Adolis, who has, of course, been hot.
- My guess as to the rationale is that Ryan Pressly is a righthanded pitcher, meaning walking Garcia to get to Gallo means giving up the platoon advantage. It also means that if Gallo draws a walk — which he did twice today, and has done quite a bit this season — the bases are loaded for Isiah Kiner-Falefa, the type of hitter who I think would be viewed as being well suited to situationally hit, to get a ball to the outfield or beat out a potential DP ball or work a walk. There’s also the fact that if you walk Garcia, there’s a good chance he looks to steal second and try to draw a throw to allow Solak the chance to score, or alternatively, simply be allowed to go to second without a throw, eliminating a potential double play. Finally. Houston had had success today challenging Garcia up in the zone — an area he’s struggled with somewhat this season — and I think they figured Pressly, as a four seam pitcher, could execute that plan.
- And it almost worked. Garcia didn’t make great contact — his game winning single had a 77.4 mph exit velocity — but it was well placed, and it was the type of ball that is going to be hard to field and throw home to get the runner wherever it went. Statcast gave it a .200 xBA, but the Rangers needed a ball in play that would get the runner home, and that’s what happened.
- Im not sure pitching good Garcia rather than walking him was the right move, but I’m not sure it was the wrong one, either.
- Moving on to pitcher velocity…Josh Sborz hit 97.4 mph today, while Mike Foltynewicz hit 95.6 mph. Ian Kennedy reached 96.1 mph, Brett Martin hit 93.7 mph and John King touched 93.4 mph.
- Nick Solak had a 103.6 mph groundout and David Dahl had a 102.4 mph lineout. Nate Lowe and Willie Calhoun had singles of 101.8 mph and 100.4 mph, respectively.
- Off day tomorrow, which means extra time to revel in a Ranger win.