ANAHEIM, Calif. – In tonight’s edition of I Watched This Game So You Could Get Some Sleep, the Rangers finished off their road trip with a 3-0 win over Los Angeles.
They won twice on the road trip – the two occasions when they didn’t allow any runs. Teams generally have pretty good win-loss records when they don’t allow any runs. But needing to post a shutout for a win, well, that’s a hard way to go through life.
Here’s stuff that mattered:
Pitching behind an opener and without having to face Mike Trout, Ariel Jurado got a soul-soothing win with six shutout innings during which he allowed just two hits. It was Jurado’s first win since July 25 and only his third since the start of July.
Jurado got a huge assist from center fielder Delino DeShields, who went above the wall to take away a home run from Brian Goodwin in the third. It was the best catch of the year by a Ranger and probably goes on the medal stand not terribly far behind the spinning leap of Gary Matthews’ Jr. in 2005.
Jurado turned, took his cap off in full salute. DeShields who seemed to drift to the wall, then accelerated when the ball carried a little more, took a playful “bite” of the ball.
Asked his thoughts on the catch, Jurado, who always speaks through an interpreter, dispensed with translation.
“It was unbelievable,” he said in English.
That really said it all.
— More on the catch, this from DeShields: “I take pride in my defense. There was a guy out there [Jurado] who had struggled a little bit. I want to do everything I can, give it my best effort to help the guy. I didn’t think it was going over the wall, but it just kept going. I’m glad I checked where the wall was. I had a similar play like that earlier this year and I kind of pushed the ball out of my glove. I wanted to make sure it was in there.”
And the bite?
“I’ve just been joking around with that a little,” he said. “I don’t know where that came from. But [Goodwin] is my guy, we’ve gotten kind of close. He seemed to smile when I made the catch. He wasn’t too butt hurt. He might get me one day.”
— The Rangers Nos. 4-5 hitters on Wednesday: Willie Calhoun and Nick Solak, who have barely 110 MLB games between them. Nonetheless, they are putting together very veteran at-bats.
Calhoun doubled in the second, walked in the fourth and singled in the sixth. Solak worked a walk in the second and singled home the Rangers’ first run in the sixth. He also singled in the eighth. Both hits were to right field. He uses the whole field. It is a promising development for the future of the offense.
“They are giving us a chance every time they go to the plate,” manager Chris Woodward said. “They are very prepared when they get up there. If they don’t get what they are looking for, they don’t swing, period. The grit and fight they are showing in at-bats is pretty impressive. It was huge for us in the middle of the lineup.”
— Solak walked in his first plate appearance, extending his streak of games reaching base safely to all nine of his career. It surpasses Nomar Mazara for the longest streak at the start of a career by a Rangers player.
— Danny Santana did not have a very good road trip. He finished it off with a five-strikeout game Wednesday. It was the first five strikeout game by a Ranger since Shin-Soo Choo on April 12, 2014. Santana was 2 for 22 with 13 strikeouts on the trip. His season batting average was .326 entering August. It was .292 after Wednesday.
— Isiah Kiner-Falefa doubled home two runs in the eighth to give the Rangers a 3-0 lead. I’m interested in watching Kiner-Falefa the rest of the way. I think the way this season has played out – full-time catcher, not a full-time catcher, yo-yo’d between minors and majors – has kind of set him off. The guy is always on a mission, but he’s going to have to max out his ceiling to really create a major role for himself. The way the last two months have gone, it might just have triggered another gear.
— Who says there is nothing to play for? There is the all-time strikeout record. And the Rangers hitters are on pace to break it. Rangers hitters reached double figures in strikeouts for the eighth time in the last 10 games (they finished with 14) and the 71st time this season. It ties the club record for double-digit strikeout games, set in 2017.
The Chicago White Sox hold the MLB all-time strikeout record with 1,594 set way back in … let me check this. … ah, yes, back in 2018. The Rangers are currently on pace for 1,611.
— The win gave the Rangers a 10-9 season series win over the Angels, so they will get whatever the trophy is for that.