At 9:15 central, the Rangers scored a run in the top of the first inning. Nearly five hours and twelve innings later, they scored again, this time two runs, to beat the Seattle Mariners 3-1.
In between that first inning run and those thirteenth inning runs was a lot of inept offense. Eleven scoreless innings.
Thankfully, and for the first time this season, the Rangers bullpen was spectacular. Thankfully, and it’s about time, Jeff Banister is realizing he can push his starting pitchers past one hundred pitches.
It just makes sense. Rangers starters have the third-best ERA in the American League, at 3.52. Rangers relievers have the third-worst ERA in the American League at 5.12. So why wouldn’t you want to have more of the former and less of the latter?
The education of Jeff Banister continued last night in Seattle when he let his starting pitcher go—gasp!—seven innings. When he let his starting pitcher—gasp!— get out of his own jam. When the light in his head finally clicked on, and he realized Yu Darvish at only 115 pitches is better than anyone else down in his bullpen with a fresh arm.
Darvish wasn’t on is A-game last night, but against the equally woeful Seattle Mariners, his B-minus-game was good enough.
And against the woeful Seattle Mariners, the Rangers equally woeful bullpen looked like it belonged in the major leagues.
Slowly, the offense is showing signs of awakening. Slowly, the manager is realizing the best way to use a bullpen is not using it.
Thursday’s win over the Astros was ugly. Friday’s win over the Mariners was tedious. But it’s two in a row, and the W is all that matters at this point.
Martin Perez (1-4, 4.26) vs. Chase De Jong (0-2, 11.05)
Game time: 8:10
The Rangers have never faced De Jong.
How the Mariners hit against Perez.