On paper it seems like it came down to one inning. It really all came down to one at-bat. The entire game pivoted on one lousy at-bat. The operative word being lousy.
While the final score reflected the beatdown the Athletics handed the Rangers, that one at-bat could have made it all different. It could have opened the floodgates for the Rangers, knocked their pitcher from the game, and flipped the outcome.
But it didn’t.
With the game tied 2-2, the Rangers went to work in the top of the fourth inning. Joey Gallo walked. Hunter Pence singled. Asdrubal Cabrera reached on an error.
Bases were loaded, no outs.
Interestingly, while a lot has been mentioned about the Rangers propensity for hitting with runners in scoring position, they have the second-best batting average in baseball at .305, they’re twenty-first with the bases loaded, hitting just .227.
How is that for a statistical significant difference. Get a runner on second, or second and third, and they are a raging bull. Load the bases and they turn into a little puppy dog.
Logan Forsythe worked the count to 2-2, then rolled a ball meekly to third. A throw home immediately followed by a throw first and all of a sudden there were two outs. Like a huge wet blanket on a fire, the rally was snuffed out. Isiah Kiner-Falefa put it of its misery officially with a grounder to second.
Opportunity vanished along with Lance Lynn’s ability to get anyone out. Oakland quickly responded with six runs to put the game away.
Winning and losing often hinges on one play either made or not made. Yesterday it was the hit that didn’t come.