There were precisely three things that happened in the Rangers’ 11-2 loss to the Astros that were even remotely worth rehashing for anyone that missed the game. I will give them to you in rapid order, because it was an 11-2 loss. To the Astros. And it took the Rangers’ “Tragic Number” down to one: any Rangers loss or Twins win will officially eliminate Texas from playoff contention. Here we go:
Thing #1: Joey Gallo perpetuated an act of violence on another baseball, and is just one home run away from 40 for the season. The home run came in the second inning, and at the time, it gave Texas a 1-0 lead. 442 feet was the official measurement.
Thing #2: Carlos Gomez and Collin McHugh are not friends. They used to be teammates, and they had words when benches cleared in May after Lance McCullers threw behind Mike Napoli. Then when Texas played the Astros on August 31st, McCullers hit Gomez with the first pitch in his second inning at-bat.
According to Gomez, that one was premeditated (quote below). So tonight, after a pitch that came up-and-in to Gomez, the two had words, and the benches cleared. No punches were thrown, and it didn’t last long, but Gomez had a lot to say about it after the game. Here’s a video of his quote:
And here’s the full text:
"You want to know the truth, or you want me to play around? It’s always going to be that I’m the troublemaker. I’m always going to get blamed. So the truth is, that guy told one of the people that work for them that he was going to hit me. So, last time that I faced him, he hit me right away. Nobody said anything about that, but when I react to something, they tell me that I’m a troublemaker. How am I supposed to react?
I get hit many times, in my neck, in my shoulder, and nobody says anything about it. So I just reacted and told him ‘What do you want? You wanna do this, or do you wanna play baseball? Because if you want to do this, there’s so many ways to do it. We don’t have to be outside when there’s fifty players down there. I waited for him last time, and he ran like a little cat. So do you want to be tough when there’s fifty men outside, or do you want to be tough when you have me face-to-face?’
So I’m here to play baseball, but every time I get blamed when I don’t have any reason to get blamed. How am I supposed to react when they send a message that they’re going to hit me for no reason? How am I supposed to react? They can take whatever they want, I know I’m a man and I’m responsible. I don’t think I did something wrong. If I do (something wrong) I apologize and I put my face down. But this time, he told me-- not me straight-up, because he’s not man enough to tell me face-to-face, he told one of the people that work over there that he was going to hit me, and then he did.
So if you’re a real man, you tell me to my face, not send me a message. I’m a man and when I try to go to you personally, you run. So what kind of man are you? Is what I have to say. I don’t have nothing against this team, I got something on him. He hit me for no reason, so how am I supposed to react? But like I say, I’m always the bad guy. I’m the Joker."
Thing #3: Rougned Odor walked three times. That’s certainly a good sign as we look forward to Odor’s long-term success in the big leagues. Tonight’s selectivity won’t save the season, but perhaps it’s something to build on for seasons to come.
Everything else about this game can be summed up in one sentence: After the Rangers failed to take advantage of the three errors the Astros committed in the bottom of the third, the Astros did not return the courtesy in the top of the fourth, as they scored eight runs (seven of which were unearned) and never looked back.
That’s right. The Astros committed three errors in the bottom of the third. Evan Gattis threw a ball to the shortstop’s position, allowing a base-stealing Elvis to advance to third, then after a two-out Adrian Beltre RBI single, Carlos Gomez advanced to first on a strikeout, then (after one of those Odor walks to load the bases), first baseman Tyler White dropped an easy Robinson Chirinos pop-up in foul territory. But Chirinos flied out to left to end the inning. It was 2-0 Texas.
But in the top of the fourth, after back-to-back leadoff singles and a sac fly made it 2-1, Andrew Cashner walked Carlos Beltran (a walk that was “strategical”, according to Jeff Banister, setting up a double play with right-handed batters coming up).
It almost worked.
After White lined to left field for the second out of the inning, Cashner got George Springer to ground out to Andrus. Only Elvis wasn’t able to put his hand over the ball in his glove, so when he transferred the ball, he did so to thin air. 2-2. Bases still loaded. Altuve walked. 3-2. Carlos Correa bounced a ball to third base that Middlebrooks also gloved-then-un-gloved. 4-2. Bases still loaded. Two-run single by Marwin Gonzalez. 6-2. Bases unloaded. Gattis double down the left field line. 8-2. Bases empty, save for the burly catcher, who was quite pleased with himself.
That’s the basic run-down. Marwin hit another home run later. A couple of other runs scored when Paolo Espino ran out of gas. Austin Bibens-Dirkx was perfect in two innings of relief, getting a six-pitch eighth and a two-strikeout ninth. Almost no starters were in the game for either team by the time it ended.
Come see baseball while you can; it’s going to be over soon.