What a turn of events. Sometimes games come down to one pitch. Sometimes the margin between hero and frustration is measured by one pitch.
The outcome can go one way. Or it can all totally fall apart. On one pitch.
Down one run, the Rangers sent A.J. Alexy out for the eighth inning. He gave up a single to start the inning. Then he threw a ball, a ball, a ball, a ball, a ball, a ball, a ball, and a ball.
Bases were loaded with no outs. So, Rangers manager Chris Woodward replaced him with former lights-out closer Jose Leclerc. All they asked him to do was pull a miracle out of his hat.
He took the first batter to 3-2. Nail-biting time. He proceeded to throw a perfect slider that was just a bit low but close enough to swing at and miss.
He took the next batter to 3-2. Again, nail-biting time. The next pitch was another slider. This one bent right across the middle of the plate. The batter watched it go by.
Two outs. This is looking possible. Leclerc looked like the Leclerc of old. Unhittable.
Then, Julio Rodriguez stepped in. He is a rookie who is running away with the Rookie of the Year award. He is everything the Rangers hope, a certifiable star born and raised in their own system. Leclerc battled him to that same nail-biting 3-2 count. Getting out of this mess would be huge, and might just be the shot in the arm the offense needs to tie up the game.
It all came down to one pitch. This pitch. Leclerc was on the verge of brilliance, on the brink of shifting the momentum back to his team.
He let the pitch fly.
Over the fence in center field.
A grand slam.
Greatness turned to disaster. In the blink of an eye. On that one pitch.
Leclerc’s next pitch was a ground ball to second for the third out.
His One Pitch was one pitch too late.