When you looked at the lineup and saw no Corey Seager and no Adolis García, you had to think this was going to be a long day for the Rangers.
When you saw Brad Miller was starting at DH, you have to think, “Wait, is he even on the team?” Yes he is, having pitched two innings the night before in the Rangers 16-3 beatdown at the hands of the Dodgers. But Brad Miller, and Josh Smith in the starting lineup? And Travis Jankowski batting second. This was going to be a long day for the Rangers.
When you saw Martin Perez give up a leadoff double, then a single, then a walk, then a grand slam, you had to think, after the Rangers gave up sixteen runs and eleven runs in the previous two games, that this was going to be a long day for the Rangers.
Because that watered-down Rangers lineup picked itself up off the mat and erased that 4-0 deficit in two short innings, eventually scoring eight runs in the first four innings. Which was more than enough since somehow Martin Perez recovered from that disastrous first inning and held the Dodgers scoreless the next five, as did his bullpen mates for the final three.
It was a wholly satisfying game the Rangers really needed in order to avoid a sweep, and to avoid going to Houston with only a two-game lead.
Instead, they head to Houston up three games with three to play against the Astros. So, even if disaster strikes, they cannot leave Houston any worse that still in first.
None of this seemed possible before the game. And certainly none of this seemed possible five batters into the game, with a wild Martin Perez on the mound and four runs on the board for the Dodgers. In fact, Perez became the first pitcher to earn a W after giving up a grand slam in the first inning in over forty years.
But this Rangers team shows us what it is made of time and again. When they really need to pull themselves out of the fire, they do.
When they really needed to bail out Martin Perez, they did.
Now they really need to win two of three against the Astros to put a bit more distance between them and Houston.
No reason to think they can’t.