He did it again.
Another costly error opened the floodgates.
Jeff Banister made the critical error of taking out his dominating starter and letting another game get out of reach.
It happened in the sixth inning yesterday in Tampa Bay. After Elvis Andrus bobbled a ball to set up an unearned run, he removed Yovani Gallardo, who was dominating.
Apparently, while he had been watched the Rangers bullpen the last four games, he thought he was watching the Royal bullpen.
Next thing you know, the hole his team was in turned into quicksand. A 2-0 deficit went to 5-0.
The guy Banister brought in, Alex Claudio, to replace the guy who was just about unhittable, turned out to be imminently hittable, as the Rays Brandon Guyer deposited the first Alex Claudio pitch over the left field wall. Along with that, the Rays deposited the Rangers four-game winning streak over that same wall.
Alex Claudio pitched to one batter and let in three runs.
Through the first five innings, Yovani Gallardo had pitched to eighteen batters and let in on one run, giving up just one hit and two walks. A one-hitter constitutes a gem in my book.
The Rays Kevin Kiermaier led off the sixth with an easy roller to shortstop. Lucky for him, he hit it to the worst shortstop in the league. Elvis handled it just about the same way he has handled his contract extension. To clarify: Not very well. The next batter grounded out, moving the runner to second. Then Evan Longoria singled to bring him home.
Another unearned run. The Rangers are leading the planet in unearned runs.
Then the panic. Then the pitching change. Then the winning streak disappeared.
In the end, the score was 8-2. And Yovani Gallardo now has a four-game losing streak, not having won since April 17th. He deserved better.
The game was a lot closer than the score. Until that one play by Elvis Andrus.
We have seen him make that same error a few times this year. But, it’s his first year managing. We need to give him the benefit of the doubt. He will learn.