The Rangers have won six games in a row. They are doing a lot of things they weren’t doing before that have helped them turn around from the dire direction they were headed in.
Hitting with two strikes. Hitting after the fifth inning. Hitting with runners in scoring position. Stringing together hits. And, generally, hitting the ball.
But the biggest change isn’t the late-inning offense. It’s the bullpen’s late-inning acquaintance with the strike zone.
In the six-game winning streak, Rangers relievers have thrown a total of 15.2 innings. With just two walks. Not surprisingly, they allowed just three total runs.
Contrast that with the philanthropic society that was the Rangers bullpen in the previous eleven games (really, the entire season), which spanned the series against Houston, Los Anaheim, and Seattle, and the first game of the San Diego series.
To begin with, the Rangers lost eight of those eleven. And in those eleven games, the Rangers bullpen pitched a whopping forty innings (averaging almost four per game). In those forty innings? Twenty-seven walks. Thirty runs, all earned.
Twenty-seven walks in forty innings. That’s roughly six walks per nine innings. That’s a lot of free traffic the Rangers bullpen allowed on the bases.
No wonder they were 3-8.
And no wonder they are 6-0 since they learned the art of self-control.
They were giving it away. Now they aren’t.
Simple as that.
Jerad Eickhoff (0-3, 4.76) vs. Yu Darvish (3-2, 2.96)
Game time: 7:05