The Texas Rangers were in great position to potentially win three-of-four from Houston. One critical at-bat in extra innings changed that.
First off, the state of affairs for the Texas Rangers is far from dire. The bottom line is that they split a four-game series with their in-state rivals from Houston. At the end of the day, it was two up and two down against the class of their division. Not great, but also not horrible by any reasonable metric.
But, this year just seems different. This year’s iteration of Rangers baseball has been such a pleasant surprise. So when the opportunity presents itself, the fan base–and most assuredly, the team–wants to get greedy and steal a series they weren’t otherwise supposed to.
Such was the case on Saturday night at Globe Life Park in Arlington. After winning the first two games of the series on Thursday and Friday, the Rangers found themselves tied with the Astros, 5-5, as the game extended into bonus baseball. This came after Texas had rallied to tie the ballgame in the seventh inning. The stage was set for more late-inning heroics like they ones they provided in Friday night’s thrilling come-from-behind walk-off victory.
Reliever Brett Martin was cruising through the top of the eleventh inning. In short order, he retired the first two Houston hitters he faced, and had an 0-2 count on perennial All Star George Springer. One more strike, and the Texas bats could’ve been up with a chance to win the game and secure the series outright.
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Well, Martin ended up walking Springer. And as is the case with many two-out walks, they tend to rear their heads almost immediately. Sure enough, Springer scored on Jose Altuve’s ensuing double. Altuve then scored a run to put the Astros up, 7-5. The Rangers did rally, but could only muster one run before falling short. But that sequence in the top of the inning put the turning point into acute focus. The game went from manageable to out of their control in a matter of minutes–all with two outs. It was the difference between sewing up a series win that they desperately needed, or tying a series in which they lost all the momentum they’d built in winning the first two games.
This doesn’t even begin to address the issues Texas has been having in recent weeks. All of sudden, any pitcher not named Lance Lynn is having trouble getting batters out and going deep into games. Undisciplined at-bats and errors in the field are beginning to present problems as well. Everything that was going so well for them in the first half of the season has gotten loose in the past couple of weeks.
The good news, though, is that these shortcomings can be corrected. In the span of a 162-game grind, ebbs and flows are inevitable, and they’re in an ebb right now for sure. The Texas Rangers had an opportunity to establish dominance over a very good team this weekend, but didn’t. The main takeaway, though, is that they played them to a draw. Moral victories won’t do them much at this time of the season, but they’ll have to do for now.
- Published on 07/15/2019 at 12:56 PM
- Last updated at 07/15/2019 at 12:56 PM