Happy Father’s Day!
The Rangers are now the proud father of a six game winning streak, showing how balanced and deep this team is by sweeping the Cardinals by winning all facets of the game.
Martin Perez came out firing today, was trusting his stuff, and hitting his spots. Unfortunately, Perez and plate umpire Andy Fletcher did not frequently agree on whether or not those spots were actually in the strike zone. It seemed as if Perez was getting squeezed early and often, which resulted in a slight change of approach by Martin and led to a higher pitch count. With that said, it was still not a bad performance by the young Venezuelan, who battled through multiple jams and kept the game close.
Ian Desmond continued his ability to just making things happen. In the top of the first, he reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second, advancing to third as the throw sailed into centerfield. Desmond then scored on Mazara’s sac fly, giving the Rangers a 1-0 lead out of the gate.
Nomar Mazara looked like a man coming out of a slump today, making strong contact on his first inning sacrifice fly, then driving a ball just foul in his second at bat. Finally, in his third at bat, Nomar drove a Mike Leake fastball into the bullpen for a solo home run, which gave the Rangers the lead.
Offensive threat Mitch Moreland hit an absolute bomb today, rewarding Banister for giving him the start. Moreland’s solo tank went an estimated 456 feet, nearly leaving the stadium.
Tony Barnette and Bryan Holaday each entered the game on a double switch, with the bases loaded and one out in the 6th inning. Barnette issued a walk on a questionable ball four call after struggling to hit his spots on pitches one through three, but that was all he surrendered. The run was charged to Martin Perez and the Rangers’ bullpen has not allowed a run in the last 15 innings pitched.
Jurickson Profar keeps proving that he is an important piece to a winning team. The kid looks like the super hyped prospect we were all drooling over three years ago. Jurickson entered the game as a pinch hitter in the 8th inning with two outs and the bases loaded, getting the chance to swing in what had been the pitcher’s spot. Profar drove a 2-2 pitch to left field, plating two runs and giving Texas the lead for good in his first pinch hitting appearance of the season. At this point, the kid is doing everything well, and as it turns out, the suspension of Odor opened the door for the Rangers to become a better team, whereas Profar still may not have gotten the call to the bigs if Odor wasn't put in timeout to think about what he did.
Sam Dyson came on in the 9th to pick up his 13th save and the Rangers hung on to take their record in one run games to 16-4, which is rather remarkable. Today marked the team’s 22nd come from behind victory, which is tops in the MLB.
Prince Fielder received the day off today, without getting the call to pinch hit, although a few situations could have called for his services. When asked about using Profar over Fielder post-game, Banister said that “he was the best guy we could put up there and to be able to control the at-bat”. This is a telling statement by the manager, and props to Banister for going with the right man for the job.
In minor league news, Joey Gallo was allowed to play baseball again today after being lifted mid-game on Thursday and subsequently receiving two games off for what has only been described as a “manager’s decision”. Clueless on this one, but I hope whatever is going on gets straightened out quickly. Joey’s bat is going to be huge at first base for Texas next year, if not sooner, and at worst, situations that make him look like an issue in the clubhouse will drive down his trade value.
Tomorrow the Rangers return home for a quick one game make-up against the Baltimore Orioles. Derek Holland takes the bump against the O’s, a team which he has had great success against recently, going 5-1 in his last six starts against them. He faces off against Kevin Gausman, who has been recently struggling.