Since Derek Holland could go only five innings, the outcome of last night’s game was forced into the hands of the relievers.
So far this season that had been the recipe for disaster.
Tom Wilhemsen, with an ERA of infinity, was called in to pitch the sixth. He got two quick outs then flirted with problems by giving up a single then a double. He wiggled out of it for the third out, walking off the mound sporting his fancy new ERA of 45.00.
Keone Kela had an uneventful seventh.
Then eventful showed up. Kela gave up an 0-2 single to Mike Trout to lead the eighth.
In comes Sam Dyson. In comes weirdness.
Pujols hits a one hopper to Odor. But that one hop scraped the moon. By the time it landed in Odor’s glove, nearly three years had passed and a nearly crippled Albert Pujols was easily camped out at first.
Then C. J. Crone checks his swing into a thirty-foot single.
Bases loaded. No outs.
Then Dyson showed why the bullpen was so well regarded. He struck out Cole Calhoon and then got Andrelton Simmons to hit a rocket shot to the one place he wanted: Third. Where Adrian Beltre turned it into a 5-4-3 double play, with Odor pulling down a slightly high throw and brilliantly turning it into two.
In the ninth Dyson showed why the bullpen has been so maligned. He couldn’t find the plate, going 2-0 on the first batter Choi before he grounded out, 2-0 on the second batter Giavotella before he singled to left, then 4-0 on Escobar before Banister removed him from the game.
Andrew Faulker gets a ground out from Perez, to move runners to second and third, and walks Trout intentionally to load the bases.
That brought Shawn Tolleson into the game in a non-save situation. Bases loaded, two outs, Albert Pujols batting.
Two pitches later it was all over.
And the Rangers bullpen had absorbed its third loss in a row.
Texas Rangers (1-3) @ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (1-2)
A. J. Griffin (—) vs Matt Shoemaker (7-10, 4.46)
Game Time: 9:05