They play 162- games and during that span there are the streaks, slumps and of course the mishaps. Coming into a four-game series at Yankees Stadium the Texas Rangers were a team in the right direction and the New York Yankees going the opposite way. When the Rangers left town Thursday afternoon they still had the best record in the American League after gaining a split.
The Yankees, on the other side were the teams fighting to get back in contention in the AL East. The home team left town for a long three-city road trip prior to the All-Star break, and they gained momentum thanks to a wild pitch last inning, a 2-1 win, which made the Yankees long plane ride to San Diego more enjoyable.
Yes, the Texas Rangers looked like a team in disarray after leaving the Bronx. So how did this team that scores runs, and could do nothing wrong the first two games, manage to drop to lose the final two via the walk-off home run and a wild pitch?
A simple answer to the old baseball theory: If you don’t pitch, the team that has had trouble scoring runs will capitalize on, one or two mistakes. And with that, the Texas Rangers can have that commanding first place lead in the AL West but their obvious need is pitching and finding some holes for their bullpen before the non waiver trading deadline of August 1st.
“It’s unacceptable,” said Rangers reliever Tony Barnette. He walked leadoff hitter Chase Headley in the ninth that opened the door for the Yankees to break the 1-1 tie and eventual win.
He did what any pitcher should not do to start an inning. But the past two games in the Bronx, the Texas bullpen let two games get away from them. The closer, Sam Dyson, the previous night threw the walk-off home run ball to Didi Gregorius.
But walk is as good as the hit.
“You walk a guy to start an inning most of the time he’s going to score,”said Barnette. What cost him and the Rangers, was Headley scoring the game winner on a wild pitch that eluded catcher Robinson Chirinos, a fastball that he could not handle with runners on second and third with two outs.
“It’s my fault,” said Chirinos. Oh, the mistakes that will lose a ballgame and change the momentum for a team, the Yankees, who once again got back to the.500 mark at 39-39. The first two games went the Rangers way, including the Monday night rain delay fiasco that ended past 3am in the morning.
Before that delay, the Yankees had the lead and when closer Aroldis Chapman did not return, Kirby Yates let it get away. Headley said, it was the toughest game of his career. Wednesday night the Rangers were two outs from taking the first two , but their bullpen blew it.
So there are obvious issues with the Rangers bullpen, though Dyson is expected to rebound and have an occasional bad one . It’s the Yankees fortunes that finally came their way, and in baseball again that is capitalizing on the mistake.
Explanations from the two managers were self explanatory. Regrouping for the Rangers as they head to Minnesota, and another win for the Yankees that could be a momentum builder.
“Especially the lead off walk there,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “We can’t do that. It’s challenging especially on the road. Leadoff walks especially hurt most. Walk-offs not so brutal. But that leadoff walk was challenging to us. Reality is, he (Chirinos) catches that. Ninety-nine percent of a hundred times I guarantee he comes up with that.”
Joe Girardi was more smiles again. His Yankees have some momentum and that is a change of pace. They erased a five-run deficit in the ninth inning Wednesday night and scored six runs in a 9-7 win. The big blows were the game tying home run from Brian McCann and the first career walk-off hit and home run Didi Gregorius smacked that landed deep into the right field seats.
Perhaps that was a game changer to turn things around. His bullpen was better after Michael Pineda left another quality start of six innings with 12 strikeouts, though winless in his last four starts.
“Hopefully this is what really got us going,” Girardi said. “You feel a lot better about your club moving forward, that they were able to bounce back the way they did. I can look at these four games,” and referred to Wednesday as a game the Yankees were sure to lose.
But the Rangers bullpen, was the difference why the Yankees were able to come from behind and get that momentum.
“We had another chance to win the other three and we ended up winning two. So overall, I thought we played pretty well against this club.” Yes, you play the games in a long season and see what transpires, and for the Rangers these last two are about a bullpen that may need some revision when they are expected to continue playing in October.
The Yankees, they need more of this good fortune. But not every game, or every bullpen they face is expected to let a game get away the way Texas did the past two in the Bronx.
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