The offense exploded, the bullpen imploded. In the end, it was just another day in the life of the Texas Rangers.
The offense was razor-sharp on a night that former Ranger C.J. Wilson took the mound. Derek Holland wasn't at his best, but left the game with the Rangers holding a 6-4 lead. Then, because you know, baseball, arguably the best bullpen in baseball proceeded to give up 7 runs, spurred by a failed run-down in which Tanner Scheppers was charged with an error.
In the bottom of the 8th inning, the Rangers win expectancy tumbled to 2.3%, and yet much like the night before, the Rangers didn't quit. Geovany Soto came through again with a three-run home run. Adrian Beltre tied the game on a single that scored Ian Kinsler. The end result was another walk-off home run, this time in the bottom of the 10th inning, as Leonys Martin hit a three-run home run of his own, to the opposite field no less.
If Ron Washington was looking for a spark when he moved Martin into the leadoff spot and moved Ian Kinsler down to third in the order, even he couldn't have expected this. The top of the order was relentless, and possibly the best sign is that Elvis Andrus is not only getting the results, but he's getting them in various ways. For much of the season, he's been intent on hitting toward the opposite field. In the bottom of the 7th inning, he laced a single to left field that scored David Murphy and, at the time, tied the game at 7-7.
The off night for the bullpen would seem to be just that: an exception to the rule. The same goes for Derek Holland. Maybe, though, the offense could afford to look a little more like they have over the last two games, quite possibly a product of a renewed energy the players have been displaying.
The best part for the Rangers, besides the win obviously, was that Oakland lost 5-0 to Toronto, allowing the Rangers to make up a full game in the AL West standings and putting them 5 games back of the A's.
As for my final note, it relates to the trading of a player in the middle of the game. Alberto Callaspo, playing third base for the Angels, was pulled in the middle of last night's game due to being traded, mid-game, to the Oakland A's. At this time, a fellow writer had this to say:
The Angels have a clueless player valuation department. It's sad, exacerbated by the fact that they helped Oakland by roughly a win tonight.— ericreining (@ericreining) July 31, 2013
The irony of the situation was that in the bottom of the 9th, Adrian Beltre hit the single to left field that scored Ian Kinsler, tied the game, and forced extra innings. The ball got by Tommy Field -- playing in Callaspo's position -- at third base, and in all liklihood, was a ball that Callaspo himself would have made a play on.
So if the A's indeed made a trade that was worth one extra win, did the trade essentially lose its value on the same evening it was made in that it ended up helping the Rangers make up a game in the standings? It's these sorts of things that can leave you bewildered and yet amazed by baseball, because hey, how can you not be romantic about baseball?