ALDS G3: Rangers survive a real clencher over Rays, 4-3

Random quote from the game: “Eric Nadel: “Here comes Napoli, a one man wrecking crew the last week”. #Rangers”
Before the game started today, I got in the mood by playing my Texas Rangers playlist. Here’s the tunes:
Brother Cane – And Fools Shine On
Johnny Cash – Ring of Fire
Little Texas – God Blessed Texas
Merle Haggard – That’s the Way Baseball Go
Terry Cashman – Talkin’ Baseball
Al Dean & The All Stars – Cotton Eyed Joe
Pat Green – I Like Texas
Pantera – Walk
If you have Spotify, you can click here to check out the playlist there.
Once that playlist was over, it was time for the pre-game show on Rangers radio. Listened to that, and got my video stuff ready.
A few pre-game thoughts.. David Price has never beat the Texas Rangers, either post season or regular season. Colby Lewis hasn’t been as lights out this season, so I’m not so confident on our side. Hopefully I’m proven wrong.
The Rangers got a man on early with a single up the middle by Elvis Andrus, and he got to second on a play by Kasey Kotchmann where he ALMOST blew it and allowed Hamilton to reach. Kotchmann also robbed us right after that when he speared a hard liner by Michael Young, which would have easily scored the first run of the game. Nice to see us not being dominated by Price early on.
Rays started off with a 10 pitch at bat by Desmond Jennings. Didn’t lead to anything, as it was an 18 pitch 1-2-3 inning for Colby. Not too bad, given the 10 pitch inning early on.
Both sides had a play in the first two innings where the pitcher was late covering first and it almost cost them an out. Both plays resulted in outs, but it’s a bit of a surprise that both sides pulled the same thing and got away with it early on.
Colby’s looking pretty good through three. Perfect through the first three innings, throwing just 38 pitches (27S/11B). Price has allowed three hits, and no runs yet, but the Rangers seem through the first three innings just “this close” to breaking through against him.
His perfect ended there, as the first pitch of the fourth was a home run by Desmond Jennings. Can’t say I’m too surprised either, what with Colby giving up the most home runs by anyone this season. After the home run, Colby came back with a walk, but then got it together, and struck out the side after that. He followed that in the fifth with a seven pitch 1-2-3 inning. Colby, despite the home run, has looked pretty good today. Not liking we haven’t broken through against Price so far.
There was an issue with Price’s finger during the bottom of the fifth, which at the time the Rangers radio guys weren’t sure about, a blood blister, a fingernail, but the first batter of the sixth was a walk. There was then an infield single, and an out by Hamilton that took a really acrobatic play by Price or it would have been another infield single. We ended up not getting the job done though, left men on second and third. Sigh.
Eric Nadel was going on a lot about the positioning of the Rays fielders being a big deal as to why the Rangers weren’t getting much done through the first six innings.
Colby walked another runner in the sixth, but didn’t break, allowing just that.
In the top of the seventh, Mike Napoli jacked a two run home run to left center, which prompted me to say this on Twitter:

I think Mike Napoli has stolen Nelson Cruz’s #boomstick this year. It showed up again right there.

Craig Gentry got a single after the home run, and that knocked Price out of the game. Price won’t win against the Rangers again. The first batter after the pitching change to Brandon Gomes was Ian Kinsler, who walked. Followed in the next pitch by a double steal! Haven’t seen many of those lately.
“35k Faithful Rays fans” was uttered by Steve Busby in the 7th when Gomes was throwing balls. I dispute that. There aren’t any faithful Rays fans that total 35,000 based on the way their games are attended. Gomes ended up walking Elvis Andrus too, which led to another pitching change (JP Howell) and Josh Hamilton.
JP Howell was no better. He threw a strike, then allowed a single to Josh Hamilton, scoring Craig Gentry & Ian Kinsler. That was it for Howell. Just two pitches. Elvis got caught on a fake throw to second when Hamilton was stealing second, he was caught in a rundown, and got tagged out on the famous 1-2-5-2 play. :)
After that, Darren Oliver came in for the 7th. I would have let Lewis pitch a bit more, but I guess with the weapons we have in the pen, I can understand it, the playoffs aren’t the time for individual stats. Oliver did give the Rays a hit when he had the play where he had to quickly cover first, and he didn’t do it, allowing Johnny Damon to reach. It was INSTANTLY followed by a hard hit single to right field, bringing the tying run to the plate. I still would have left Lewis in.
Darren Oliver got knocked around a bit too hard. As of yet no hits, but they’re hitting him hard. The bases were loaded up by three straight singles. He came out and was replaced by Alexi Ogando. Oliver came out with one out and bases loaded. Not good.
The first Ogando pitch was popped up into foul ground, and both Beltre & Andrus missed the ball. Tough break there, it would have been an enormous help in that situation to get that second out on the first pitch. The Rangers did get the out, but it was a groundout to Moreland, which allowed a runner to score, making it 4-2. That was it. In an inning that made me fairly nervous, Alexi Ogando got out of it, and given they had the bases loaded with just one out, a single run scored isn’t too bad.
The Rangers didn’t do anything in the top of the 8th, and Mike Adams came on for the bottom of the 8th. He allowed another home run to Desmond Jennings, his second of the game. That’s a bit of a surprise, as he had just 10 of them all season. Lovely tweet by Evan Grant right after that…

From start of 2009 season with SD until traded to Rangers, Mike Adams allowed 5 HRs. Since traded: Four.

Bah. I felt a bit better after the Rangers pitched out with Longoria on base, and they caught BJ Upton on a caught stealing. But then Adams walked Longoria, so it’s a “seesaw” feeling of emotions in this game. Mike Adams’ command seems to be non existant this game. He gave up a home run, and then three walks. Bah again.
He’s replaced by former Pirates closer, Mike Gonazlez, who comes in and strikes out Johnny Damon. He’s immediately replaced by Neftali Feliz, who will come in to get a four out save, bypassing Koji Uehara, who had been warming up, ramping up the nervous factor in this game. Feliz came in and struck out Ben Zobrist.
The Rangers made no noise in the top of the ninth, well almost no noise – Ian got a double. But generally the Rangers went down quickly.
A thought as we start the bottom of the ninth as I harness my inner John Vittas… “It’s clench time”…
A second thought as we start the bottom of the ninth by me: “I see Bank of America is sponsoring the Game Breaks on TBS. Does that mean they’ll charge me $5 for each of those they show?”
Throwing over to first a few too many times, in my opinion.
We ended the game on a 5-4-3 double play!! It’s unclench time! Clapped my hands at home – what an exhale end to a really nervous game!
Rangers up 2-1. Possible elimination of Rays in Tropicana Field up tomorrow at 1PM.
Final word: David Price is now 0-6 against the Rangers all time.