In the second game of the series against the Cardinals, the Rangers came off the mat after being shut out through seven, scoring two in the eighth and two in the ninth to beat St. Louis 4-3, their fifth win in a row. All because of pitch counts. Once again, a manager removed a starting pitcher who was absolutely dominating because of pitch counts. And, once again, the manager allowed his team to lose.
Originally published June 19, 2016.
Thank goodness for pitch count baseball.
Thank goodness Mike Matheny is a disciple of Tony LaRussa, who never saw a dominating pitcher he couldn’t yank after one hundred pitches.
The Rangers were not going to score off Carlos Martinez. Simple as that. If he went fifteen innings they were not going to score.
This was vintage Carlos Martinez. He’s has had a few dominating starts like that this year. He smothered Arizona for no runs over eight innings (only to see his bullpen give up two in the ninth). He handcuffed Milwaukee over eight innings a few weeks ago. He went eight-and-one-third innings his last time out, giving up just one run.
He is on a roll.
He was just as dominating yesterday. But he committed the cardinal sin, and Cardinal sin, of getting to one hundred pitches.
So, the new rulebook dictates the starter must come out.
With the opposing manager in a philanthropic mood, the Rangers were fortunate enough to face non-Carlos Martinez pitchers.
Down 3-0, Texas was given two innings to do something.
They did something. They were even sporting about it.
They gave the Cardinals two outs in the eighth inning before going to work.
Shin-Soo Choo singled off countryman Seung Hwan Oh. Ian Desmond doubled. A wild pitch brought in the first run. A Matt Adams error on a Nomar Mazara ground ball brought in the second run. Beltre singled to put the tying run at second. The rally ended, as rallies do, with Prince Fielder.
But the Rangers still had a ninth inning to look forward to. And Prince Fielder’s turn in the order was nowhere near coming up again.
Oh, and Carlos Martinez was long gone. (Probably somewhere gasping for air after such an exhaustive workload.)
When Rougned Odor led off with a single, suddenly the entire momentum changed. You knew the Rangers were going to win this now. It was just a matter of how, and by how much.
Jurickson Profar singled. Robinson Chirinos loaded the bases by taking a fastball in his recently healed forearm. After Ryan Rua flied out, Shin-Soo Choo eagle-eyed a walk to tie it and Ian Desmond hit a sacrifice fly to stun the St Louis crowd and go ahead 4-3.
All because the Cardinals manager can count to one hundred.
Thank you, math.