Good news: I have discovered something that is worse than a two-out pitching change in the ninth inning.
A rain delay in the ninth inning.
Wait, there’s more: A three-hour ninth-inning rain delay.
What’s that? Still more? Yes: A three-hour ninth-inning rain delay in a game that saw its first pitch delayed by 21 minutes because of the threat of rain even though rain wasn’t falling.
That’s the ticket. At least I’ll have a story to tell my kids.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from Tuesday morning’s 9-6 win that was delayed 3 hours, 35 minutes in the ninth inning.
1. Did the umpires rob everybody a bunch of sleep Monday night?
Did the umpires cost the New York Yankees a chance to beat the Texas Rangers?
The Yankees got exactly what they wanted.
They were leading 6-5 when their hard-throwing closer, Aroldis Chapman, entered for the ninth inning and promptly walked Robinson Chirinos and went to 3-1 count with Shin-Soo Choo.
It was raining, sure, just as it had been since the fifth inning and just has it had been in the eighth, when Rangers reliever Tony Barnette pitched around two singles to open the inning.
The final two outs were via strikeouts, so Barnette didn’t seem to have any trouble with his control or with the mound.
No one with the Yankees was thinking the mound wasn’t suitable for play or that a pitcher couldn’t grip the baseball based on the way Barnette pitched.
But as soon as Chapman walked Chirinos and then fell behind Choo, then the Yankees had a problem.
Manager Joe Girardi came out of the dugout, snapped his fingers, and the umpires stopped a game that couldn’t reasonably be restarted in a timely matter because of the late-night forecast. Advantage, Girardi.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister was ticked after the umpires called for the tarp. Multiple personnel in the dugout were irate and drew the ire of the umpires as they tried to leave the field.
Their contention was that the Yankees weren’t facing any different conditions than Barnette had just faced. And they were absolutely right.
Girardi claimed afterward that he didn’t ask crew chief Paul Nauert to stop the game. All Girardi wanted to do was look at the mound and maybe get Chapman a dry rosin bag.
In making those requests, though, the umpires were swayed to stop the action by some other things that had been pointed out to them.
I wonder who did that?
“As the inning went on, Chapman had issues gripping the baseball, the mound was actually still in very good shape, but it was brought to our attention that the home plate was under water, first base was starting to puddle up, and that was our decision then to stop the game,” Nauert said.
If Girardi was expecting the game to never resume, he should have thought twice about it.
“I think our intention was to try and finish that game,” Nauert said. “You’ve got to give both team an equal, fair opportunity. We were going to wait as long as we could.
“You’ve got to make it fair for both teams. Our job is to try to get the game in. Just to cut it short for rain is not something that we’re doing. We take that integrity part of it very seriously.”
Girardi didn’t seem the least bit pleased when the he, the umpires, Banister and the head groundskeeper took a look at the field. Girardi stood with his hands on his hips, right in the middle of the conversation and right next to the groundskeeper.
As the umpires tried to determine a time for the game to resume, Girardi stood about 20 feet from the Rangers’ dugout and had was animated as he talked with his general manager, Brian Cashman.
The Yankees didn’t use Chapman when play resumed, but they still had a lead when they turned the game over to Kirby Yates. That was a disaster, as he was behind the wheel for three of the runs in the Rangers’ four-run rally.
The Yankees got beat, and Girardi wasn’t pleased.
But he got what he wanted back in the ninth inning, a stoppage. He just underestimated the will of the umpires.
“It stings a lot,” Girardi said. “I think some people have to look ahead and understand this shouldn’t happen. I wouldn’t have a problem starting the next night. I think that’s better than burning your closer and doing what they did. But it’s the rules, and I think it should be looked at because it just doesn’t make any sense to me.”
2. As for the baseball, the Rangers fell in a hole as Chi Chi Gonzalez allowed five runs on 10 hits in five innings and as their offense failed to pile up a few bigger innings against Yankees starter Ivan Nova.
Every hit Gonzalez issued was a single, so it’s not like he was ripped all night. The Yankees’ three singles as they scored once in the third each came on a broken bat. One of those fell as center fielder Ian Desmond broke back, lost his footing and lost the ball in the lights.
Gonzalez is auditioning to be the permanent fill-in for Colby Lewis over the next two months, rather than a starting pitcher the Rangers might acquire via a trade.
He didn’t give the Rangers a ton of confidence he can do it, but it seems like he will get another start this weekend after Banister said that he though Gonzalez pitched well enough.
Besides, the Rangers liked Gonzalez more than any of their other options in the minors Saturday when they made their decision.
That choice was to promote Gonzalez was made before left-hander Michael Roth threw a two-hitter Sunday night for Triple A Round Rock. Roth leads the Pacific Coast League in ERA, though he started the season as a reliever.
Veteran right-hander Kyle Lohse hasn’t done anything that has wowed the Rangers. He couldn’t out-wow Gonzalez.
Gonzalez didn’t just get the start because he has a spot on the 40-man roster and Roth and Lohse don’t. The Rangers can move Lewis and outfielder Drew Stubbs to the 60-day disabled list to create an opening.
Yet, they didn’t. They went with Gonzalez because they felt he was the one most ready for the major leagues.
Maybe Roth, who has pitched in the majors almost entirely as a reliever, changed that Sunday night, but it doesn’t seem that way.
3. As the Rangers contemplate how to go forward with their injury-ravaged rotation, they are also concerned about Martin Perez’s body language/emotion on the mound.
They weren’t too comfortable with they way he demonstrated his displeasure with some calls Sunday, though it didn’t seem to affect him too much.
But the issue was addressed with Perez, as it has been previously this season. It’s part of the Rangers’ routine with the left-hander to make sure he doesn’t come unglued during a big inning.
He seems to be doing just fine, with six consecutive wins and 11 quality starts.
Banister said that he doesn’t want his players to be play without emotion. He wants them to let their personalities show through.
“I don’t want any of our guys to be robots,” Banister said.
But apparently there’s a fine line.
“There’s a difference between emotion and emotional,” said Banister, who later added that there is also a difference between personality and emotion.
Banister would prefer to see Perez make use of his emotions in a more positive way than griping and possibly be mentally taken out of the task at hand.
Makes a lot of sense.
But maybe this is who Perez is. He seems to have done a good job minimizing the big inning, so maybe he is keeping his emotions/personality in check this season.
Just a thought, like, oh, not delaying a game when it’s not even raining.