G16: Rangers walk off on Elvis night with 5-4 win

One complaint. The game was listed as being on Channel 21 last night. It’s a good thing I peeked at the start of the game when it actually started, as at the LAST SECOND, the game was moved to Fox Sports Southwest. That’s unacceptable – because people who regularly time shift like myself get screwed when things like this happen. :(
Anyway, there was a veritable gaggle of Elvis jokes last night. It was Elvis night at the ballpark, so we saw tons of Elvii around the place. Plus a bunch of jokes from Lewin, who loves his mass media references. The official MLB recap had this as a title, “Elvis sends Tigers to Heartbreak Hotel”. Heck, even generally unfunny FSS guy Jim Knox got into it, and I actually laughed at his Elvis impression.
Rich Harden continues to be a disappointment so far. He only went 4.1 innings, but threw 99 pitches. The man doesn’t know a thing about pitch efficiency, it seems. Six hits, two runs, and four walks. Way way way too much. It’s pretty bad so far.
The Rangers got out early in this one with a first inning two run home run by Vlad Guerrero. Oddly enough, given how hot he started it was just his second home run of the season so far. Guerrero also scored later on a really strange play. He scored on something I had never heard of before, that being a “catcher’s balk”. Alex Avila, the Tigers’ catcher moved the live ball on the ground with his catcher’s mask, which is an apparent no-no (I didn’t know that). So that was a freebie.
Michael Young grounded in another run a little later to put us up 4-2. However, the Rangers bullpen had more problems by giving up two runs to the Tigers in the top of the 9th to tie the game.
That’s when the walk off was set up. Justin Smoak walked, was sacrificed over to second. Ryan Garko was intentionally walked, and then Nelson Cruz was unintentionally walked after Joaquin Arias was sent in as a pinch runner for Smoak. That loaded the bases for Elvis Andrus. At first Elvis looked too nervous, and went down 0-2 quickly. However, on the third pitch, he lined a ball to right center for a single for the game winner.
And yeah. Josh Lewin did it. He said “Thank you very much” as Elvis hit the ball to right center. Elvis also got shaving creamed by CJ Wilson and a couple of other guys. CJ even posted a video of it on his twitter account here.
But the big deal for most Rangers fans was the major league debut of Justin Smoak. You always want the touted minor league guy to make a great impression in his first game. However, for this one, I think it was a case of less was more, as Smoak didn’t do anything offensively, but he didn’t embarrass himself. He did, however, show his propensity to take pitches, as he walked twice. His official line was 0-2 with 2BB. No offense to speak of, but it was nice to see him there.


  1. Baseball Paul says

    A walk off is always nice. The bast thing about the win is that its two in a row. We just need to keep winning series. I sure do like the effort by Blonco and Arias. Just find a way to win boys!