Ahh, Cleveland, where hopes and dreams have come to die for decades now. Lebron James messed this joke up last season, but given the big picture, I think we can allow it.
The Rangers lost again today, this time 5-1, as the offense was unable to get it together, and Corey Kluber was more than happy to accommodate the futility.
Andrew Cashner was not hit very hard today, unless you count getting hit in the right arm by the helicoptering dagger-end of Edwin Encarnacion’s broken bat in the bottom of the sixth inning. Cashner let out a yell, fell to his knees, and knelt for a few seconds. Meanwhile, the ball bounced untouched past Mike Napoli, the second such ball in the inning: trusting evasion over force to find its way into the outfield grass.
What follows is a list of every Rangers baserunner today.
First inning: Nomar Mazara hit a solo home run to give Texas a 1-0 lead.
Second inning: Rougned Odor singled, and while Carlos Gomez, Robinson Chirinos, and Mike Napoli were in the process of striking out, he stole second and third base.
Third inning: Joey Gallo walked. He was then picked off.
Seventh inning: Adrian Beltre reaches on an infield single, thanks to a Baltimore chop that stayed in the air for about four days.
Ninth inning: Elvis Andrus singled, and advanced to second base, much to the “we don’t care at all, do you want third also?” of the Cleveland infield.
Give Kluber credit for much that futility. He pitched tremendously for eight innings, struck out twelve, and you've seen the rest in the above list. His primary put-away pitch was filthy today. One announcer called it a slider, another called it a cutter, and Gameday called it a curveball, but the most important nomenclature was home plate umpire Rob Drake called it strike three all day long: half of Kluber's strikeouts came on the ...Clurter?Klurter? (? I guess?)
When Kluber is in full Kluber mode, it takes a nearly perfect effort to beat him, and Cashner was just ...pretty good. He worked around single baserunners in the first and fourth innings, and worked a clean second. But the third inning involved two singles, a walk, two wild pitches, and a couple of heated arguments with Drake (the umpire, not the singer, though now I have a new thing I would like to see). Even if the two resulting runs had been the only ones Cashner allowed, it wouldn't have mattered today: Kluber was nearly untouchable.
In losing the game today, the Rangers also lost the series, 3-1. It’s their first series loss since June 2-4 (at home against the Astros), and they fall to one game below .500 at 39-40. They out-homered Cleveland 9-0 in the series, but scored just 15 runs in the four-game set, compared to 26 for the opposition. They’ll now travel to Chicago to face Derek Holland’s White Sox for three before returning home to face Mitch Moreland’s Red Sox.