Hey Rangers fans. Pizza!
- Tonight was a breakout of sorts for the offense. It's hard to really say that with it only being the fifth game of the season, but it was easily the most complete performance. 10 hits, 7 walks, and even some Delino DeShields baserunning magic to help put 7 runs on the board.
- A.J. Griffin got the start, his first since 2013. Given that he's the 5th starter, you don't generally expect a whole lot, but Griffin actually fared well. He pitched 6 innings with 3 earned runs on 6 hits and 2 walks. He wasn't striking guys out, but he didn't give up the long ball either, so all in all, it's a start you'll take every time out from your 5th starter.
- Rougned Odor got his first home run of the season, a 2-run shot that put the Rangers up, at the time, by 4 runs.
- On a related note in talking about Odor: This infield defense. Don't get me wrong, I expected Adrian Beltre to keep being Adrian Beltre, but some of the plays Odor has been making have been especially impressive to me. He really seems to be confident in his ability to make the tough plays, and you just have to hope that when it comes to the routine plays, he can maintain the same type of focus. Beltre and Odor combined to turn a double play in this game that was a thing of beauty, as you can see in the GIF above.
- Things got a little hairy in the bottom of the 8th inning. Tom Wilhelmsen, who had already worked the 7th inning, was sent back out for the 8th. It was a bit surprising, especially considering that Mike Trout and Albert Pujols were due up and since Banister seemingly had a stocked bullpen at his disposal since A.J. Griffin was able to go deep into the game. Regardless, Wilhelmsen quickly retired both Trout and Pujols, but then followed that up with a walk-single-walk sequence to load the bases. With the tying run at the plate, Tony Barnette came in and induced a line-drive out to center field to escape the inning unscathed.
- Regarding Wilhelmsen, I was actually talking with Eric earlier tonight, and I'm of the opinion that Wilhelmsen may not be long for this bullpen. Now, so as not to be overreacting to a few tough outings, take note that between 2013-2015, Tom Wilhelmsen's BB/9 was 4.4. In other words, the walks aren't something that should be terribly surprising. Then again, that puts him in comparable territory to Fernando Rodney. Most Rangers fans remember Rodney as someone that almost always makes his appearances interesting, but usually ends up escaping in the end. And perhaps that's what Wilhelmsen will be. I'm just not counting on it, given his fielding-independent variables.
- Jake Diekman came in to quickly close out the 9th inning in fine fashion. Strikeout-groundout-strikeout, and the Rangers got the 7-3 win. In less than 24 hours, they do it all over again, this time with Cole Hamels on the mound.