Last night the Rangers season officially reached the three-quarter mark.
There is no getting around it. Their bullpen is officially horrible.
It’s not just going through a phase. It’s not just one of things. It’s not just a temporary slump. It’s not just one or two guys bringing it down. It’s not just any other excuse one wants to make for it.
The Rangers bullpen is horribly unreliable.
But it does make for fun games.
Alex Claudio had done an admirable job of taking over for Lucas Harrell. Watching Harrell pitch is like watching someone drive drunk. They made it home alive but you have absolutely no idea how or why they were allowed behind the wheel.
Luckily for the Rangers, Harrell pulled up lame in the second inning. It’s the second injury this year that actually benefited the Rangers, the first one being Josh Hamilton going down to allow Ian Desmond’s signing.
But every inning a Ranger reliever pitches is another inning closer to a blown save. And by the time Sam Dyson entered the game, Rangers relievers had logged 6.1 scoreless innings.
One can tempt fate only so long.
Dyson gave up an obligatory run in the ninth. And Keona Kela gave up two runs in the tenth. It looked bleak, down 4-2 going into the bottom of the inning.
But the Rangers pulled it out in remarkable, unlikely fashion. Mainly because Athletics reliever John Axford couldn’t find the plate. He walked Chirinos, Lucroy, and Desmond to load the bases. Then godsend Carlos Beltran got his fourth hit and third RBI of the game to tie it.
Then, as if taking out his dominating starter to give the Rangers a chance to tie it in the sixth wasn’t enough, Bob Melvin committed another cardinal sin. He had his new pitcher Mark Rzepczynski intentionally walk Adrian Beltre to put the winning run on third with less than two outs.
Now, even if the Rangers didn’t get a hit (and since Carlos Beltran wasn’t batting, the likelihood of any other Ranger getting a hit was about the same as Adam Rosales winning an MVP), they could win on a wild pitch, a passed ball, a ground out, a sacrifice fly, catcher’s interference, a walk, a bunt, a balk, an error, stealing home, or even a hit by pitch.
Rzepczynski hit Rougned Odor on the first pitch and the game was over.
It was a wild, exciting, frustrating, head scratching, palm planting, expletive-screaming, fist pumping game.
And the Rangers have a quarter of the season of these left.
Sean Manaea (4-7, 4.57) vs. Yu Darvish (3-3, 2.77)
Game time: 7:05 pm
How the Athletics hit against Darvish.
How the Rangers hit against Manaea.