On August 25th, the Texas Rangers, fresh off of a huge series win against a fellow division Wild-Card hopeful, started a series in Oakland, trailing the Twins by just a game. But the Twins beat the Blue Jays earlier in the day, and Kendall Graveman went 7 innings, allowing just one run to the Rangers. He then handed it off to Chris Hatcher and Blake Treinen, who struck out one and two, respectively, to keep things scoreless for the rest of the game. With the 3-1 loss, the Rangers wasted a strong start by Nick Martinez to knock the Rangers down to 2 games back in the race.
On September 22nd, the Texas Rangers, fresh off a huge series win against a fellow division Wild-Card hopeful, started a series in Oakland, trailing the Twins by just 2½ games. But the Twins beat the Blue Jays earlier in the day, and Kendall Graveman went 7 innings, allowing just one run to the Rangers. He then handed it off to Chris Hatcher and Blake Treinen, who struck out one and two, respectively, to keep things scoreless for the rest of the game. With the 4-1 loss, the Rangers wasted a strong start by Nick Martinez to knock the Rangers down to 3.5 games back in the race.
Martinez had one less walk (one) strikeout (six), and inning pitched (six) tonight than he did a month ago, but. in both games, he allowed three earned runs (the A’s also notched an unearned run in the third inning when Marcus Semien reached on a Drew Robinson error and later scored.)
The similarities aren’t quite so eerie after that. Khris Davis homered twice in August and went 0-for-3 tonight. But now that I mention him, he did score the first run for Oakland; his second-inning walk preceded a Matt Olson run that made the score 2-0.
Shin-Soo Choo redeemed one of those runs with a home run of his own in the top of the third, but that was it for the Rangers’ offense. Rougned Odor had a particularly rough night, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
Those nights happen–Elvis Andrus was 0-for-4, and I wouldn’t have mentioned him if not for this comparison–but Odor’s was accentuated by the fact that he went for the cycle of stranding baserunners (one, two and three men left on base), and likely made more frustrating by the fact that he hit the ball hard in each of his first two at-bats.
In the first inning, after an Adrian Beltre walk and a Joey Gallo single, Carlos Gomez grounded into a double play. Odor lined out to Marcus Semien, who was shifted up the middle and standing almost directly behind second base.
In the third inning, it was a Gallo walk and a Gomez bloop single that put runners on the corners with two outs. Odor sent one 100mph and 357 to the warning track in center field.
Then came the vicious sixth. The score was now 4-1 thanks to a Semien double and a vindictive Matt Joyce single that poured salt on Odor’s wound(ed left ankle) as it narrowly escaped his dive. Nomar Mazara (single), Adrian Beltre (double off the wall), and Carlos Gomez (walk) all took their leadoffs, hoping for a history repeat of one kind (Odor's grand slam in Seattle on Wednesday) got a history repeat of another. Odor fouled off two, then couldn’t check his swing at a pitch that was a foot outside and low.
Texas did have one last gasp in the ninth: with two outs and two strikes, Brett Nicholas singled when he hit a ball that, in turn, hit Blake Treinen, then hid from the A’s reliever long enough for Nicholas to reach first base (Baseball is inherently aloof in matters of fairness: Odor hit a hard liner to center field and another to the track and went 0-for-those-2. Nicholas hit a one-hopper back to the pitcher for a hit). Drew Robinson followed with a double that one-hopped the left field wall.
But that would be the last of it: Shin-Soo Choo struck out on three pitches to end the game.
Miguel Gonzalez will hope to stop the repeat of history tomorrow when he faces Sean Manaea at 8:05 Texas time.
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