Dominating starting pitching.
The Rangers have had the first two for most of the year. Last night they checked off all three boxes. And it’s a glimpse into exactly how good this team could be.
It’s an offense that just keeps plugging away. They were facing one of the aces in baseball, Seattle’s Luis Castillo. He pitched like an ace, too. Holding the Rangers hitless through four. And when Texas finally got two runners on in the fifth with only one out, he kept them from scoring.
But Jon Gray was just as good, pitching seven innings of two-hit, shutout baseball.
The Rangers offense kept throwing punches and one finally landed in the sixth.
But this is exactly the kind of game the Rangers have been losing this year. Up by a run or two (or in some cases four) late, then the bullpen comes in. John Gray could have gone another inning from a pitch count standpoint (he could have gone the whole game but that’s another rant). He had thrown only eighty-two pitches. But Bruce Bochy reportedly told Chris Young, if you give me a new toy, I’m going to try it out. So he marched Grant Anderson back out to see what he had in him.
Once again, Anderson came through. He pitched a scoreless eighth and Will Smith shut them down in the ninth on seven pitches.
It might have been the best Rangers game of the year. Not in terms of excitement, or comebacks, or huge game-winning home runs.
But because they won a close, low-scoring baseball game. And they haven’t been doing that all season.