Another win, this one on the road!
So basically Hunter Pence winning games for the Rangers, just like we all predicted before the season, right?
Shin-Soo Choo led off the game with a home run. Choo now has 8 home runs on the season and a wRC+ of 143. He’s pretty damn good.
Drew Smyly got the start tonight, and was… decent at best. He did end up going six innings for his longest start of the season, and his first win since 2016, but the way he got there was less than desirable. Smyly got through the first inning mostly unscathed, the one baserunner being a Shohei Ohtani walk. However, the walk came on four pitches,
By the end of his outing, what had looked like would be a bloodbath resulted in Smyly’s defense saving him as he walked four hitters with four strikeouts. I commented on Twitter that Smyly’s outing very much resembled a “Martin Perez with the Rangers” start. That is, sometimes he gets away with bad pitching, but on the whole, you’re going to look up and not be terribly pleased with his outings.
With the Rangers down 3-1, it wasn’t until the top of the 6th inning that the Rangers put another run on the board. Hunter Pence doubled, and Asdrubal Cabrera doubled to drive him in, bringing the deficit to only one run heading into the final third of the game. Pence now has a wRC+ on the season of 156 and only trails Joey Gallo on the roster as far as players that have more than 100 PA. He’s been more than any of us could have hoped for, especially me.
The bullpen was fairly solid on the evening. Specifically, Jesse Chavez came on and once again shut down the opposing offense. Since May 1, he hasn’t allowed an earned run, and his FIP is a nice 2.64.
In the top of the 7th inning, the Angels defense helped the Rangers out a bit with two errors. After Shin-Soo Choo reached on the first error of the inning, Logan Forsythe walked, bringing up Hunter Pence. Pence proceeded to hit a line drive to center field that would have scored one run easily, but Mike Trout — uncharacteristically and with his first error in two years in an attempt to make a play somewhere — missed the ball on the hop, booting it and allowing the go-ahead run in Forsythe to score as well.
The score held into the bottom of the 9th inning, bringing Shawn Kelley on to close out the win. With one out, Brian Goodwin singled to right field, setting up a scenario in which Kelley needed the double play to avoid facing Mike Trout. David Fletcher lined out to Joey Gallo in left field, which set up Trout coming up representing the winning run. Up 0-2 on Trout, Kelley threw a wild pitch that advanced Goodwin into scoring position at 2nd, and it seemed perfectly set up for the kind of ending that you’d expect with Mike Trout, especially after Kelley got away with a slider earlier in the plate appearance. Alas, Kelley ended up striking out Trout on a slider down and away to end the game and secure a Rangers victory.
Mike Minor will take the mound tomorrow opposite Tyler Skaggs at 9:07 CDT.