Rangers Pepper: It All Comes Down To This
Four down. Three to go.
Have a laugh, and read on…
Andrew Romine grounds a ball to first that bounces off Mitch Moreland’s left foot and reaches on an error…J.B. Schuck singles to right field…Ian Kinsler lets a routine groundball from Erick Aybar bounce through his legs, and then makes a poor decision and throw, leading to his second error in one play…Adrian Beltre throws a Mike Trout grounder errantly past Mitch Moreland…And the Rangers trail 4-3 as Matt Garza finally records the inning’s third out on a K of Howie Kendrick…
The four errors in one inning was the first time a team wearing a Rangers uniform had stumbled into such a disastrous accomplishment, and the second time in the month a September that they committed as many errors against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The first time resulting in an 8-3 loss at Angel Stadium.
However, this time Texas ended up walking off the field as winners despite their own ineptitude, courtesy of a Jurickson Profar home run on a 1-1 fastball that kept hope alive for one more day.
Six of Texas’ fifteen losses in September have come in games in which they have committed at least one error, and last night was the first game the Rangers won this month when they committed multiple errors.
It also marks the first game the Rangers won when allowing 5 or more runs since August 23rd.
To put it more accurately, if Texas does finish the season on a 7 game win streak that they hope forces a playoff-play-in game with the Indians, it’s highly doubtful they can overcome a repeat performance of all that went wrong prior Profar’s adrenaline shot into the right field stands.
And It STILL Might Not Be Enough – As Profar was getting mobbed at home plate, the Indians were clinging to a 9th inning lead that had gone from 5 runs to 1. If they fell behind for the second consecutive evening in the games final frame, they would be the team walking off the field to a crushing defeat.
However, Cleveland held on to win, notching their seventh consecutive W and maintaining their one game lead over Texas for the second Wild Card spot in the AL. For the second straight night, Texas may have seen their best chance of catching Cleveland fall by the wayside.
Tonight, the Indians will send Corey Kluber to the mound. Kluber did not win his July 20th start in Minnesota, but he gave up no runs through 5 innings while Cleveland’s offense scored only twice. He will be opposed by rookie Pedro Hernandez, who did manage to pick up a win at Progressive Field on June 23rd, but has allowed a total of 7 ER to the Tribe in 10.1 innings over 2 starts.
And that likely represents the most favorable matchup for the Twins this weekend.
On Saturday afternoon, Cole De Vries will attempt to go a smidge longer than the 2 innings he struggled through in Oakland last Sunday, where the A’s roughed him up for 6 ER on 4 H and 3 BB. Cleveland counters with Scott Kazmir, who, like Kluber, received a no decision at Target Field in July. Kazmir was scored on twice (both unearned runs) through 6 innings the evening before Kluber’s no decision.
The Sunday afternoon series finale features Scott Diamond of the Twins versus Ubaldo Jimenez of the Indians. Diamond faced the Indians at home on July 21st, and he made it just 4.2 innings, surrendering 6 runs (5 ER) on 6 H and 2 BB. Jimenez is rolling, compiling a 1.04 ERA and 1.038 WHIP in September 6 September starts, all Indians wins. Even though he did lose his only start against Minnesota on August 23rd, he only allowed 2 ER and struck out 10 through 6 innings pitched.
The law of averages would say that Minnesota should pull off one win in a four game series, and that Cleveland won’t win 10 consecutive games to end the season.
That looks like the only thing in the Rangers favor, who must pull off a minor miracle of their own.
Late Morning Baseball – The Texas Rangers have moved the start time of tomorrow’s game up 8 hours, from 8:05 p.m. to 11:05 a.m. due to the 1-2” of rain that is expected to soak the DFW Metroplex Saturday afternoon/evening.
The positive side of this development is that you can tune into the back half of the FOX broadcast of the Indians vs. Twins game with a little more knowledge of what a Cleveland win or loss does to the Rangers season.
The negative being that there is a possibility that you will spend the rest of your Saturday sulking around the house, or braving the wet roads with full knowledge that Texas’ season has come to an end.
If you have a “no beer before noon” policy, then this may be the time to rethink that stance.