Much of tonight’s game story had very little to do with the game. It focused mostly on Ian Desmond and Cole Hamels earning All-Star nods. Deadlines often force reporters to begin writing long before the game ends. So this Rangers Reaction space will be devoted to three aspects of the Rangers’ 7-2 win, which snapped a three-game losing streak. But it wasn’t supposed to be this way. See, when you’re covering a game involving the Red Sox, deadline issues come into play because the Red Sox like to play looooong games. It’s not just a theory. Boston is averaging three hour, 15 minute games, which tops the majors. The next closest American League team, the Astros, are six minutes faster. The Rangers are averaging 2:59 a game, tied for second quickest in the majors. This has been going on for a while, too. The last time the Red Sox weren’t near the top of the list was 2002. Most of the seasons since, Boston is Nos. 1 or 2. Tuesday’s game was 3:21. Monday lasted 3:40. What’s up with that? I feel better now. Here are three thoughts on the Rangers’ win Tuesday night in Beantown:
1. Choo to Chirinos — Shin-Soo Choo sent the first pitch of the game 421 feet over the wall in center. He tweaked something in his lower back on the swing and eventually left the game at manager Jeff Banister’s request in the fifth with lower back stiffness. He’ll be checked out again Wednesday. Choo has dealt with intermittent back issues this season. It was Choo’s third lead-off homer in the past six games, fourth in the past 12 and the 20th of his career. In the ninth, Robinson Chirinos’ three-run homer gave the Rangers a five-run lead, enough to finally feel safe that they had closed the book on a three-game losing streak.
2. That’s how you spell relief — The Rangers bullpen was forced into early duty again when A.J. Griffin left with the game tied at 2-2 after four innings and 96 pitches. Cesar Ramos, Shawn Tolleson, Jake Diekman, Matt Bush and Sam Dyson combined to throw five scoreless innings. Ramos allowed no hits in 1 1/3 innings before Tolleson finished the sixth. Diekman walked one in a scoreless seventh and Bush allowed a single in a scoreless eighth. The Red Sox started the ninth with two singles against Sam Dyson before Rougned Odor scooped up Jackie Bradley’s grounder to start a 4-3 double play. By the way, did the intro confuse you? If you were born in ‘90s then it probably did. So here:
3. Elvis encore — Elvis Andrus was 2 for 2 with a double, walk, two runs scored and an RBI Tuesday night. His sacrifice fly in the first gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead. He started a four-run, ninth-inning rally with a lead-off walk. Among A.L. shortstops, he’s third in fielding percentage (.984), fourth in batting average (.289), fifth in hits (81), tied for third in doubles (15), tied for the lead in triples (4), tied for third in stolen bases (11), and fourth in on-base percentage (.343). His previous season-best fielding percentage was .976, which he did three times. He hasn’t made an error since making two on May 28. In fact, if you take away his five May errors (can you do that?) he’s only made one. If the regular season ended today (can you do that, too?) he’d have career highs in fielding percentage, batting average, slugging percentage (.404) and OPS (.747). Take a bow, Elvis.