Baseball was played Thursday night at Fenway Park, and that rates as a miracle.
Rain fell from about 9 a.m. until, well, it’s still falling in some form. There was a mist/drizzle in the air when it wasn’t technically raining.
Did I mention it was cold and breezy, too?
The Texas Rangers, as memory serves, don’t do wet, cold and breezy very well.
That was reinforced over nine wet, cold and breezy innings.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 6-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox that completed a three-game sweep.
1. And you thought the Rangers couldn’t outdo their American League-record strikeout streak of seven straight games earlier this season.
Well, they showed you.
The Rangers matched the MLB record for most strikeouts in a nine-inning game when they punched out 20 times against five Red Sox pitchers.
Drew Pomeranz did the heavy lifting with 11 in six innings, and Craig Kimbrel finished the Rangers off with four in the ninth. Only after the game ended did it officially become four for him and 20 for the Rangers, who believed that Nomar Mazara reached to start the ninth as a hit batsman.
But he clearly swung and missed a 3-2 pitch before it caught him on the ankle. Plate umpire Chad Fairchild ruled it a strikeout but didn’t see the ball strike Mazara. Had Fairchild seen it, the ball would have been dead and Mazara wouldn’t have been able to take first base.
“I challenged the call,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “Challenged that he was hit by a pitch, which in fact he was. And then it was brought back to me that it’s not a reviewable or challengeable pitch. Which, any hit by pitch is reviewable. I still to this moment don’t know why that ruling came down. It doesn’t matter what side of the baseball you’re on, a hit by pitch is reviewable.
“Strike three hit by pitch is an automatic out. That wasn’t the call, unfortunately. But it is what everybody saw on the big screen. It’s what everybody saw in the moment.”
The next three batters, including Mike Napoli for a fourth time, all struck out, and the Rangers made history.
The Rangers have had their moments with the swing-and-miss. They struck out in seven straight from April 30 to May 6 to set the AL and team records, but had struck out only 73 times in the past 12 games.
The Rangers’ offense had been streaking, in conjunction with their 10-game winning streak. After losses in 4 or 5 games that had a lot of everything bad, that seems like a month ago.
Now, the Rangers get to go to Toronto, where they have lost five of their past six games, including Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS and Game 3 of the 2016 ALDS.
2. So, the Rangers are so desperate for bullpen help that they are considering turning a starter in the minor leagues into a reliever, a proposition that, depending on the pitcher, should make everyone a little uneasy.
If they’re thinking about switching Connor Sadzeck, even if only temporarily, it should make everyone a lot uneasy.
He hasn’t been discussed, yet, and that’s good. He needs to keep on starting, as does Yohander Mendez, as the Rangers continue to attempt to develop a starter from the minors.
Sadzeck has had a few bumpy starts at Double A Frisco, but he’s been serviceable to brilliant most of the season. He has been able to mix in control with his big fastball, which has hit 100 mph this season.
He’s not small either, at 6-foot-7. His power stuff would play in the bullpen, but it’s playing in the rotation and that should have the Rangers thinking long-term with him.
Mendez is another who needs to be kept a starter. As a lefty, he could probably fit into the bullpen, too, but he could also run into the risks that might come from a quick move into relief role.
There are exceptions. Derek Holland made his big-league debut in 2009 as a reliever, and the 1990s Atlanta Braves, for example, often gave minor-league starters their first taste of the majors as relievers.
But even under the circumstances in which the Rangers currently find themselves, apparent desperation, they need to leave Sadzeck and Mendez out of consideration for trying to help fix the bullpen.
3. One starter who the Rangers should consider for relief duty is Nick Martinez, who won’t be in the rotation much longer.
For one, Tyson Ross should be activated from the disabled list after one more Martinez start. Also, Martinez still isn’t clicking consistently as a starter.
He’s definitely had his moments, just not enough of them. He’s still a nice rotation fill-in at this point, but hasn’t taken the next step to being a rotation fixture. Martinez still has a chance to improve, as all players do, but right now he’s a depth piece.
However, he does have some bullpen experience, and the Rangers might as well give him a shot. Martinez could give the Rangers multiple innings, and perhaps he can be more effective in a smaller doses.
If the Rangers manage him correctly, he can continue to be stretched out in case they need him to make a spot start.
Besides, Martinez has to be more effective than Dyson and Jeremy Jeffress, right? Right.
At this point, what’s it going to hurt?