The Rangers 3-2 loss to the White Sox was what I imagine a shark fishing trip to be in that it was frustrating, then it was horrifying, then the end result was very much in question, and then just like that, it was over.
The Frustrating: with one out in the second inning, Nomar Mazara walked, and then so did Joey Gallo, and Mike Napoli followed with a bloop that Adam Engel rushed in to pursue. The ball did find its way into Engel’s glove, but only for a blink. That was enough, however, to prevent Mazara from scoring, as The Big Chill froze as he waited to see if it was a catch or not. Rather than two on and a run home, the bases were loaded with one out. But then Drew Robinson popped out to shortstop and Brett Nicholas flied out to left field, and the score remained 0-0.
The Frustrating, Part Two: in the third inning, Delino DeShields singled, then stole second as part of a Rougned Odor strikeout, and stole third as part of an Elvis Andrus walk. Then Adrian Beltre also walked. Again, the bases were loaded with just one out. But Mazara flied out to not-deep-enough left field and Joey Gallo popped out to first base, and the Rangers had stranded six runners in two innings. They’d add another two in the following inning, unable to convert leadoff singles by Napoli and Robinson into runs.
By then, of course, the White Sox had done all the damage they’d need. Nicky Delmonico walked, Avisail Garcia got a single on a ball down the third baseline that Joey Gallo had no business making a close play. He did, but the result was the same. Runners on first and second for Omar Narvaez, who singled up the middle for the game’s first run. Tim Anderson grounded into a 5-2-5-1 fielder’s choice, but the rundown on the lead runner took long enough that the White Sox had runners on second and third by the time the tag was applied.
They would both score when the Tyler “Villain Moustache” Saladino doubled down the left field line. It was 3-0.
After the fourth inning, the Rangers offense seemed to realize the “Get Runners On But Don’t Score” technique was not working, so they stopped. …the first half of the equation. After the Napoli / Robinson singles, the White Sox shuttered the doors to the first base train station, retiring eleven in a row before an Odor walk and an Andrus single in the seventh. They didn’t score either.
The Horrifying: after Tony Barnette held the door, Matt Bush took over for the eight inning. He would throw just five pitches. Ball, swinging strike, foul, ball, disaster. Nicky Delmonico (the same Nicky Delmonico who had, the night prior, hit the ball to the right field wall that gave us the Nomar Mazara knee scare) popped a ball to the left side of the infield. With a left-handed hitter at the plate, the infield was swung around to the first base side in a shift. If they hadn’t been, perhaps the former shortstop Matt Bush wouldn’t have been so aggressive in trying to catch the ball. But he was, and somehow, he did make the catch.
It took me nearly five minutes to even think to go back and check to make sure he had actually caught the ball. Because as the catch was made, Bush and Joey Gallo collided. The right side of Bush’s head slammed into the front of Gallo’s. Gallo immediately dropped to the grass, rolling over to his face and kicking the ground in obvious pain. Cameras soon showed a significant amount of blood running from Gallo’s nose. Bush, too, appeared to be dazed.
The game came to a halt as the training staff and manager emerged from the dugout. Eventually, Gallo was walked off the field. In short order, Bush, too, left the game. Both players were examined, and the report we have thus far is that Bush had a bruise on his knee, and Gallo had a bloody nose and swollen upper lip. Both players, as part of concussion protocol, will stay behind for at least one night as the team flies to Anaheim to start a three-game series against the Angels.
The Very Much In Question: in the ninth inning, with Phil Gosselin now hitting in Gallo’s spot and Jason Grilli having finished the eighth inning before giving way to Alex Claudio in the ninth, the Rangers had one last try left.
Drew Robinson walked to lead off the inning. Then so did pinch-hitting Robinson Chirinos. So Banister decided to pinch-hit again, inserting Shin-Soo Choo into the game for Delino DeShields. Choo grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. With a runner on third, Rougned Odor homered to center field to make the score 3-2, but that was as close as the Rangers would get. Three pitches later, Elvis Andrus flied out.
Texas now goes to Anaheim to kick off a four game series and a ten-game road trip as they chase a Wild Card spot.