In a different world or time, Adolis Garcia would have already won the ALCS. He gave the Rangers the lead in the series-swinging Game 5, and then clinched Game 6. Perhaps it would surpass Josh Hamilton’s homer in the 10th inning of the 2011 World Series that ended up not meaning anything in Rangers lore.
The baseball gods are much more cruel than that, though. It’s still quite possible that Garcia will be known for starting a bench-clearing staff meeting in Game 5. There’s not through-line that had Garcia simply gotten hit by Brayan Abreu’s fastball, put down his bat, and then walked to first and thus not kept his closer Jose LeClerc sitting for 20 minutes, that the Rangers end up winning Game 5. It just might have helped greatly.
There was no way Abreu, in a close game in a series tied 2-2, was throwing at Garcia, though I’ve never been pelted with a 97-mph fastball after hitting a home run against a team I already have history with (though I’m willing to try!). Still, it’s quite the response from Garcia to listen to the boos from the Astros faithful all night, take advantage of the joke that is the Crawford boxes, and somehow resist the urge to walk slowly all 360 feet (I would also be willing to try!).
That’s the good stuff.
Once again, the Rangers got a nails start from Nathan Eovaldi, and the Astros didn’t really get one from Framber Valdez again. Valdez’s sinker seem to abandon him halfway through this season (20 inches of vertical drop this season as opposed to 24 last year and 27 the year before) and he tried to navigate around that in Game 6 by throwing his curveball most often. It mostly worked except for two homers, one from Mitch Garver and another from Jonah Heim.
Whereas the Rangers were able to use only their three best pitchers for this, Eovaldi to Sborz to LeClerc before the game got out of hand. They won’t be so lucky tomorrow, given that Max Scherzer is probably only good for one trip through the lineup and batter-by-batter for his second, and the Rangers bullpen has been the soft underbelly all season.
Eovaldi is putting together one of the best postseason runs in recent history. He’s thrown 26 innings so far this October, striking out 28 while walking only four (one intentionally) with an ERA of 2.62
Other random thoughts after Game 6:
*I have no time for the stat telling everyone how many parks a fly ball would have been a homer in and how many it wouldn’t. They’re only playing the game in one park and the runs don’t come off the board simply because the Green Monster would have spit it back or the Giants had to construct a park with the contours of the bay behind it. Heim’s homer counts, it went over the wall in Houston, where the game was played. Shut up.
*Some drama before the game centered around Abreu’s suspension being on hold while he appeals the two games he got. And it’s all pretty damn silly, because A) the aforementioned circumstances which indicate only the biggest moron in the world would try to settle a score in the middle of a playoff game and B) would Abreu be suspended had Garcia not reacted and the benches hadn’t cleared? Would he even have been ejected from Game 5? The answers to those questions are clearly no, and Abreu shouldn’t suffer because Garcia lost his rag.
Actually, it’s easy being green
To end things, a memo to the Philadelphia Eagles: Wear those jerseys all the damn time! Black trim, or black at all, shouldn’t be a part of anyone’s jerseys unless it’s part of their color scheme. Which leaves basically the Raiders, Bucs, Steelers, Ravens, Jags, Panthers, and Saints as the only ones who should have black in their jerseys. The Kelly Greens forever, especially with the old school socks. This is now law, or should be.
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