“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.” - George R.R. Martin.
“I didn’t really have a whole lot working other than my sinker, but my sinker was really really good tonight. Throwing it to both sides of the plate, and it was moving a ton. I was just trying to get deep in the game. I wanted to go nine.” - Andrew Cashner.
Summer will end soon enough, and childhood as well. but as for Wednesday, It was still baseball season, and it was Game of Thrones night at Globe Life Park. Frankly, it’s easy to pre-game your headlines when the team isn’t playing well: “The Night is Dark, and Full of Terrors”, “Winter is (Mercifully) Coming”, “Game of Groans”... George R.R. Martin is a wellspring of melancholy. But the Rangers won 8-2 tonight, and as far as my memory serves, Daenerys Targaryen never uttered the words “Huh, that was a pretty okay baseball game, fellas.” So perhaps we should leave the Game of Thrones quotes to HBO and talk about baseball.
Fear cuts deeper than swords, and while Doug Fister’s pitches did little to strike the traditional fear into the Rangers’ bats tonight, he did set the tone for the evening with the first pitch… Are you afraid? Good. You’re in the great game now. And the great game’s terrifying....that first pitch hit Shin-Soo Choo squarely in the back.
Can a man still be brave if he's afraid? That is the only time a man can be brave, and the Rangers were. Choo didn’t score in that first inning, but the team did stand tall, seemingly announcing "This is my home, and you can’t frighten me,” and scoring first in the second inning…
Why is it that when one man builds a wall, the next man immediately needs to know what's on the other side? Rougned Odor had to know, so he send a second-inning pitch on a reconnaissance mission to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead.
“I didn’t hit it good. I got jammed a little bit,” Odor said after the game, a bandage wrapping his left hand. More on that later... You see, the things we love destroy us every time, and Joey Gallo loves baseball. Pete Kozma pinch-hit for Gallo in the fifth inning when the left-handed slugger left the game due to hamstring soreness that he has been battling for awhile. Some old wounds never truly heal, and bleed again at the slightest word, and we’ll wait to hear an update on Gallo, but he was not the only casualty: Odor's left hand contusion should be okay in a day or three, as he was hit by a pitch in the fifth inning (the second consecutive hit-by-pitch, following Beltre’s leadoff beaning. The next time the Red Sox raise a hand to the Rangers may be the last time they have hands.
When Odor left, Kozma–who had been playing first for Gallo–now moved to second base, and Jonathan Lucroy moved from catcher to first. Robinson Chirinos entered the game behind the plate. Add to this confusion that Jurickson Profar was already playing shortstop due to Elvis Andrus leaving to attend to the birth of his first child. After all, what is duty against the feel of a newborn son in your arms?
But by this time, the game was fairly well in hand. Carlos Gomez homered in the third inning, then Texas strung together three runs in the fourth on two sacrifice flies and a Gomez single. Both Beltre and Odor converted their pain into runs in the fifth when Jurickson Profar doubled them home, and that would account for the final two of the Rangers’ eight runs.
A bruise is a lesson... and each lesson makes us better. Cashner showed no ill effects from being hit in the arm with a broken bat in his last start, carrying a no-hitter into the sixth inning. But with two outs, new first baseman Pete Kozma committed an error, and the next batter, Xander Bogaerts, hit a two run homer for Boston’s only score on the night. Cashner left the game after the seventh inning, having allowed just the two runs on three hits.
If I look back I am lost, so Matt Bush put his recent struggles behind him and pitched an eight-pitch eighth, and Alex Claudio pitched a nine-pitch ninth.
But if you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention: the Rangers season is still very much in peril, and it is possible that your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth.
But for tonight, what do we say to the Lord of Death?
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