Wow. Wow. What the heck happened tonight? This was a team playing to win. Coco threw 30 pitches, 22 of them for strikes. Or 22 pitches, 10 for strikes. Huh? Well, the first number is from ESPN.com, the second from the Rangers website boxscore.
Here’s what Gameday says:
Frankie fouled three pitches, the third a foul tip for a strikeout.
Kinsler had a ball, a foul, then a grounder back to Coco. That’s 6 so far, 5 strikes.
Wilkerson took a called strike, then singled. 8-7.
Vazquez, ball, ball, strike, strike, ball, ball equals walk. 14-9.
Laird had strike, foul, ball, single. 18-12.
Lofton strike, foul, ball, single to first, where Fielder dived to stop it, but couldn’t get up and flip in time and Lofton just beat the pitcher to the bag. 22-15.
Marlon Byrd, already with a fabulous diving catch and then throw to double up the runner (which made #2 on Sportscenter’s Top Plays, although it was better than Andruw Jones at #1): strike, foul, foul, foul, ball, single to center to tie the game. 28-20.
Michael Young then fouled one off before singling the winning run to right. Thus Coco was 30-22, and ESPN is right.
But what do you notice here? The six straight baserunners with 2 out? Yep. That Laird, Lofton and Byrd were all 0-2 before getting a hit? Yep. That the slowest pitch Coco threw was 88mph? Yep. That a month ago, a week ago, heck even a couple of days ago most if not all six of those guys would have made out and ended the game? Yep.
You have to know that Coco has been waiting for the opportunity to save a game here, of all places. To blow it was kind of poetic, although that would be cruel. After all, I didn’t ever want Coco to leave, and what he’s done this year has shown why. Okay, we wouldn’t have Gagne, but we’d have Coco. We wouldn’t have carried Carlos Lee around for a few weeks, running up the tab at the buffet table. And we wouldn’t have Nelson Cruz to send down a few days ago. I still believe in Nelson Cruz. I still believe in Coco. I don’t think we got as much for Coco as we could have, although honestly in three years when this team is contending again Cruz will be more valuable.
If you’re loving the fact that we’re beating a first place team two nights in a row, think about this: since May 9 the Brewers are 9-19 while the Rangers are 10-19. You know how badly the Rangers have sucked this past month. The Brewers started hot, but then midnight tolled and they turned back into pumpkins. Don’t expect to see them in the playoffs. There’s a bunch of clubs in that division who haven’t even gotten started yet. And yeah, I’m counting the Astros even though a week ago I said they were playing as badly as the Rangers. If the Rangers were in that division, they’d only be 10 games out. The Brewers are actually the division leader with the worst record, if they were in the AL East or West they’d be in second place, but any other division they’d be at least third. In other words, it’s nice to beat them but don’t read too much into it.
Brandon McCarthy only threw 78 pitches before being pulled after five innings. It’s almost as though they read my blog entry yesterday, criticizing them for leaving Tejeda in too long. Of course, McCarthy hadn’t pitched in two weeks, so they were being careful, but the way he pitched I’m glad they decided beforehand how long he was going to go, and then stuck to it. It was sure nice to see five strikeouts and no walks from him.
Get this from the ESPN Game Notes: “Texas was shut out for the third time this season and the second time in four games.” I think someone was writing it up before the game was over, and forgot to go back and check it before posting.
So Tex is on the DL, which means we won’t have any speculation about him being traded for a couple of weeks. Here’s a disturbing quote from Jayson Stark on Thursday: ‘Rangers GM Jon Daniels may have sworn this week that he has no plans to “shop” Teixeira. But an official of one team that has spoken with Texas says, flatly, that the Teixeira talk is “real.”‘ Compare that to this quote from the Rangers website on Tuesday: ‘“I have had no conversations with other teams about Mark Teixeira,” Daniels said before Tuesday’s game.‘ So who is correct? Stark implies he read JD’s quote, but is calling him a liar, that someone else has talked to the Rangers. Or did the talk happen between Tuesday and Thursday? Trust level for JD sinks a little, I think.
I’m not an ESPN Insider, but here’s the headline of the story that subscribers get to read: “The Rangers might be in last place in the AL West, but Keith Law says they were winners on the first day of the draft.” You can’t read the whole story unless you’re a subscriber, but the Rangers paragraph is in the free preview here. It suggests they did pretty well with their draft, something that JD said on tv tonight as well. Of course, he has to say that, but I was a little dubious when he said that the top three they got were the three they were zeroing in on. Come on Jon, is that true? Weren’t you hoping for one of the top ten to slip down a little? Really? Remember what I just said about trust levels now. You learned a bunch of stuff from John Hart, don’t tell me he taught you how to lie to the fans and media?
The Rangers acquired Adam Melhuse? What for? Because you want to get Chris Stewart more at-bats in the minors? A 35 year old career backup catcher, whose career isn’t even that good, being an 80 OPS+ – meaning he hit at 80% of major league average. Come on, Miguel Ojeda, the guy at Oklahoma, is only 32, a career 77 OPS+, and he wouldn’t have cost anything. You just know the player to be named for Melhuse is going to turn out to be another Travis Hafner, too.
All in all, a good day to be a Ranger fan. Not that there are bad days to be Ranger fans, right?