The north wind – albeit just a breeze – is a refreshing change in our sweltering weather.
Not unlike how those walks breathed life into a stagnant Twins’ offense last night in Minnesota.
This one was there for the taking for the Rangers. A Twins’ team reeling from a 1-6 road trip was feeble at the plate. Elvis Andrus’ two-run homer provided a 2-0 lead into the 8th.
And then … the Rangers begged them into the game.
Reliever Jake Diekman, near flawless in his first six appearances with Texas, promptly sparked Minnesota’s comeback by walking Eduardo Escobar to start the 8th. One of the dirtiest sins in baseball are lead-off walks trying to protect a lead. Just inexcusable.
Escobar, as walks tend to do, scored on Joe Mauer’s two-out double and the Twins tied it at 2-2 on Miguel Sano’s ensuing double off the wall in right field. Hard-hit balls, sure. But all the damage was made possible by the free pass.
If that wasn’t frustrating enough, reliever Spencer Patton took the ball in the 9th inning of the tied game, got the first two outs and then – you guessed it – walked .228-hitting Kurt Suzuki. Escobar made him pay, bouncing a full-count fastball just inside first base for a hit that scored Suzuki with the winning, crushing run.
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Bemoaned manager Jeff Banister, “Walks at this level, late in the game, early in the game, middle of the game, they come back to get you.”
The Rangers are now 25-35 against teams .500 or worse. And this has to be one of their most frustrating losses.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.