A MARVELous Night
Last night the Texas Rangers stymied the Colorado Rockies 9-0. Seems innocent enough for a mid-summers night game, right?
It was anything but.
It was the first time the Rangers had shutout their opponent since July 2nd of this year and their fifth of the season. The Ranger racked up another double digit hit game with 17, their second highest number of the season. That is their fourth game of 10+ hits in their last five contests. Their eight extra base hits (four double, two triples, two home runs) were the most by the club this season.
I mean, you get the point by now right? Great game but nothing too out of the ordinary – to the casual fan.
Last night was marvelous in a few ways. First let’s start with the offense.
DeShields and Choo have 4 hits a piece. Last time 2+ Rangers had 4+ hits in the same game was July 25, 2011 (Kinsler, Cruz, Napoli).
— Kazuto Yamazaki (@Kazuto_Yamazaki) July 22, 2015
Even more interesting however was the fact that in the top of the 9th inning, DeShields had a chance to have a five hit night AND hit for the cycle. He ended up striking out but still finished with a career high four hits.
Even more interesting than that, Shin-Soo Choo came up earlier in the 9th with a shot at the cycle as well. Unlike DeShields however, he succeeded. Choo blasted a ball to dead center that hit off the wall and ricocheted back towards the infield and Choo, with a head first dive, landed at third base with his first career cycle. It was also the first cycle in MLB History hit by a Korean born player.
But while all of that is great, the biggest story without question and might have been overshadowed a bit, was the fact that medical marvel Matt Harrison was the winning pitcher in a game in which the Rockies were shutout at home for the first time since July 4th… of last year.
Matt Harrison has battled back from what many thought to be career ending spinal fusion surgery. Hell, no other pitcher has ever had the surgery, let alone had it and attempted a comeback. We all know that a pitcher needs his back in order to be effective, just ask Roy Oswalt. So when Harrison told folks he was going to come back from his surgery and pitch again in the major leagues, people said it was nothing more than empty optimism.
Boy, were they wrong.
Matt Harrison threw six solid innings giving up seven hits, a walk and two punch-outs to get his first win since May 8th of last year when he defeated, you guessed it, the Colorado Rockies in Arlington. In that game Matt Harrison and the Rangers shutout the Rockies on just five hits. Last night, they shut them out eight hits.
While it’s far too early to know if Harrison will wind up being the Matt Harrison of old, and while there will be folks who say “big deal, Harrison won a game but he still won’t be able to sustain success”, the fact that he has come back and put his team in position to win a baseball game is nothing short of miraculous.
Say what you want about the win as a stat in baseball and how meaningless it really is, say what you want about the future of Matt Harrison, and say what you want about fans, like me, who get happy seeing these kinds of things but I enjoyed seeing Matt Harrison succeed on a Major League mound again. I enjoyed watching prove his critics wrong. I enjoyed watching his teams reaction when he was told his night was finished.
I can guarantee you that Mike Maddux, Prince Fielder, Rougned Odor, Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus and everyone else in that clubhouse enjoyed seeing Matt Harrison be successful on the mound again, especially after everyone had written him off.
There is no one that enjoyed it more than Matt Harrison and his family.