Being 2-0 out of the break isn’t the big news.
The Astros crashing and burning by giving up three in the bottom of the night and then committing a horrible throwing error to let the Angels win it in the bottom of the tenth isn’t the big news.
It’s what happened in the top of the seventh in yesterday’s 2-0 win against the Cleveland Guardians.
Andrew Heaney held the Guardians scoreless through five. He got the first out in the sixth, then gave up a double and a walk, and seemed really annoyed he was taken out of the game.
Grant Anderson came in, threw one pitch, and got a double play.
He started the seventh with giving up a single, got a force out, then Bruce Bochy went to his bullpen, normally Achilles Heel time for the Rangers at this point.
But he didn’t bring in any of the usual Tanner Scheppers Award nominees. He brought in his closer. Which was brilliant because this was the close situation.
Will Smith came in and shut down Cleveland with a strikeout and an easy pop up. And he came back out in the eighth, getting Cleveland out one-two-three.
That meant the ninth, the official closer situation, went to newly acquired and highly accomplished closer Aroldis Chapman. While he gave up a two-out single, he was his old dominating self, striking out Myles Straw to end the game on a 101-mile-per-hour fastball for his first save as a Ranger.
Suddenly, for a game at least, the Rangers bullpen seemed to get so much stronger. Smith and Chapman. Maybe it will at times be Chapman and Smith. But whichever combination is set-up and closers, there is finally starting to be a sliver of hope for this inflammatory Rangers bullpen.
In two games out of the break the Rangers have one by bludgeoning the other team with offense. They’ve won with great starting pitching. And they’ve won with a smothering bullpen.
A smothering bullpen? The 2023 Rangers?
Something good is happening.