Bases loaded. No outs. Fifth inning. Rangers up 5-2. Game on the line. Then something absolutely amazing happened.
It wasn’t what Rangers starter Nathan Eovaldi did on the field that was the most amazing. It was that he was allowed to stay on the field in the first place.
A lesser manager would have panicked. Taken the ball from him and handed it over like a fresh piece of meat to a pack of wild tigers.
But Bruce Bochy has been here a time or two. He doesn’t panic. And he doesn’t cave. He’s a manager who lets his ace pitch out of jams because he knows he is the best arm he has to get out of a jam.
A lesser manager would have freaked out. A lesser manager would have looked at the daily analytics report and ignored his gut. And the Astros would have pounced.
A lesser manager is what the Rangers have had for the past decade because they had a lesser General Manager who was too insecure to have a greater manager.
Bases loaded. No outs. Fifth inning. Game on the line.
Astros Yanier Diaz up. This is another one of those offensive wonders the Astros farm system just seems to produce. He struck out on a curveball low and away.
Then Jose Altuve, who is built for moments like this. He struck out on a splitter at the bottom of the zone.
Then Alex Bregman. He’s the Astro with all the charm of a frat boy. He grounds out to third. And Eovaldi walks off the mound, having just done the impossible, one more time.
For the second straight day, the Rangers starting pitching carries the day. For the second straight day the Rangers bullpen holds. For the second straight day, the Rangers beat the Astros in a nail-biting, heart stopping, breath sapping, hair pulling close one to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Still a long long way to go. But the Rangers have a manager who has been there. They haven’t had that in a long time.