Texas Rangers explode for 8 runs in the top of the 11th to beat Seattle 11-3 on Saturday afternoon.
- Martin Perez went 6 IP and allowed 3 runs (2 ER) on 7 hits, striking out 5 while issuing only 1 walk. 71 of his 102 pitches went for strikes.
- Texas scored all of its runs during two innings: In the top of the 4th they drew first blood on a Prince Fielder RBI double, then Josh Hamilton singled in a run before Chris Gimenez drew a run-scoring walk with the bases loaded. The Mariners matched Texas's scoring output in the bottom of the frame, and that score stood until the barrage in the top of the 11th.
- Jeff Banister is highly questionable:
In the bottom of the 10th he went to closer Shawn Tolleson, a reasonable move after pitching Sam Dyson in the 7th, and Jake Diekman in the 8th and 9th. What wasn't reasonable was Banister inserting Tolly in for the 11th, as well, having already thrown 26 pitches and after sitting through an eight-run outburst.
Sure, part of his high pitch count had to do with the head-scratching decision to intentionally walk Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano, consecutively, in the 10th. This was not a numbers-friendly, sabermetric alternative -- Texas's win expectancy fell from 31.6% to 25.4% after the free passes -- but it didn't seem very sensible in a baseball sense, either. Facing Cruz with two outs and a man on first was a better strategical option than Tolleson vs. Jesus Montero, who's actually found success (.324/.375/.514, 152 wRC+) in his brief 35 PA sample this season, with the bases loaded.
Tolleson validated Banister by getting the inning-ending strikeout, inevitably leading the way for Texas's massive 11th inning output, but then why go back to his closer in the 11th? At the least, it felt like an ideal opportunity to get Luke Jackson's feet wet in the big leagues, and if not that, you have Anthony Bass and Sam Freeman who've yet to pitch. Jeff Banister sent out his closer to throw an additional 22 pitches -- netting Shawn a career-high 48 on the afternoon -- in a game that was already in the bag.
- The Rangers are legitimately in the race to win the American League West right now. I don't need to offer any proof beyond the fact that they are within 3 games in the loss column of the first-place Astros. The team is trending way up at the moment. But it's still only August 8th, and if Jeff Banister continues exhausting his bullets, as he did with Keone Kela, and as he's doing with Tolleson, Dyson and Diekman, he may not have any left for the real dog days of summer.