I didn't get home from work tonight until the bottom of the 7th, just enough time to see Shawn Tolleson strike out Paul GoldSchmidt to get out of a first and third jam. So, you're welcome, guys.
What followed was a circa-2010 type of inning from the Rangers:
- Rougned Odor grounds out to second
- Jake Smolinski reaches on an E4
- Leonys Martín walks
- Elvis Andrus hits a texas leaguer over the 3B's head
- Martin and Andrus double steal, advance on E2
- Prince Fielder HR (1)
Just like that it was a 5-1 game and the lights were going out at The Bob. Texas added two meaningless runs in the top of the 9th on a Martín single, making up the 7-1 final score.
Other random shiz:
- Nick Martinez has faced 79 hitters in 20 innings over his three starts. Against Oakland, Anaheim and Arizona, respectively, he's thrown 95, 99, and 96 pitches. That roughly translates into 3.7 pitches per hitter, or 14.5 pitches per inning. In other words: wildly outstanding efficiency. On the year he only has 9/6 K/UIBB ratio, so Nick won't get any love from fielding independent pitching metrics, but out of the gates he's been damn good in the results department. He won't be a free agent until 2020.
- Am I the only person on the Shawn Tolleson bandwagon? He's recorded punch outs on 11 of the 25 hitters he's faced this year -- a Wade-Davis-esque 44% -- surrendering just one run on three hits (and zero walks) in 7.1 innings. Very little substance comes out of the first month or two of the baseball season, at least as far as actual progression from developing players, but there isn't much of a doubt that Tolleson is the Rangers best relief pitcher. That's by default more than anything, but it doesn't take away from his early season brilliance.
- Prince Fielder hit his first home run of the year, a no doubter off the crack of the bat into the right field seats. Fielder has been Texas's best offensive player early on, producing a robust .386/.435/.509 (160 wRC+) triple slash line in 62 PAs.
More interestingly, I think, is the way other teams have been pitching to him. Fielder's career walk rate (12.9%) is elite; his career strikeout rate (17.3%) isn't bad, either, especially considering how much slug he's generated in the past.
In 2015, however, Prince's BB rate (7%) and strikeout rate (8.8%) have been way out of whack with his career norms. Of course it's only about 60 plate appearances, but it's almost like other teams are pitching to Prince Fielder as if he's a single's hitter until he proves he isn't one. Once he starts popping balls over the fence with more regularity, it's a safe bet to assume his walk numbers will start piling a bit more.