Saturday afternoon marked the second game of the Rangers’ three-game series with the Guardians to open the second half of the season.
After slumping into the All-Star Break, the Texas offense exploded for 12 runs last night in an effort that seemed like the ones we saw in April and May.
The Rangers’ offense would waste no time getting going again this afternoon as the first three Texas batters reached base to load the bases with no one out. Unfortunately, only one run would come out of that as Adolis Garcia’s RBI groundout was followed by Josh Jung hitting into an inning-ending double play. Marcus Semien would add a sac fly in the 2nd inning to make it 2-0 Rangers, but unfortunately, those were all the runs that the Rangers would get this afternoon.
Andrew Heaney got the start for the Rangers, desperately needing to bounce back from his last outing against the Nationals, where he pitched just three innings yet gave up eight runs in an 8-3 Rangers loss.
Bounceback would be precisely what Heaney would do as he went 5.1 scoreless innings striking out six Guardians batters.
Heaney did, however, leave a big jam for Grant Anderson to come on and clean up in the 6th, with Cleveland having runners on the corners with one out when Bruce Bochy made the call to the pen. Anderson got a huge ground ball double play to end the inning and keep the Texas lead at 2-0.
Bruce Bochy decided to use the bullpen a little differently today, using Will Smith to pitch the last of the 7th and the 8th in order to bridge the gap for Aroldis Chapman to come on and record his first save as a Texas Ranger, which included a 102.5 MPH sinker on the final pitch, the fastest ever thrown by a Ranger in the Statcast Era.
Bruce Bochy said:
“You’re seeing a guy with tremendous stuff that’s been doing it a long time; it’s really amazing; he still has the same stuff that I saw ten years ago or so; he comes in and throws strikes; good to see him get his first one [save] as a Ranger.”
The Rangers’ two early runs were able to hold as the pitching staff dazzled to earn Texas a 2-0 shutout win and a series win over the Clevland Guardians.
When speaking about the pitching staff after the game, Bruce Bochy said:
“What a job by everybody, Andrew [Heaney] good bounce back for him to throw the ball the way he did; a solid effort by him, Grant comes in there [and] gets a big double play, Smitty [Will Smith] those were five big outs that he got us and Aroldis, [when] you get two runs, you need the good pitching, and we got it today.”
Texas has a chance to sweep the series tomorrow afternoon at 1:35 as Martin Perez will take the mound for the Rangers to close this series out.