Dateline: Running Cedar
On a very pleasant fall afternoon, the Rangers took the field against the Blue Jays. Tommy S. took the mound and again was dominant. He struck out two and got the last batter to hit a weak grounder back to him that he played nicely and flipped to Max who was covering first. The Rangers started off as Juan was hit by a pitch. He moved to second on a walk to Bryon and stole third on the next pitch. After the next pitch, Juan took a big lead and when the catcher through it to the pitcher he took off and scored for the first run by the Rangers. After one it was 1-0 Rangers.
In the second, Tommy got the next batter to weakly ground out back to the mound. After that he walked a batter and then struck out the next two. Seven batters, four strikeouts, no runs, no hits. Not a bad day of work for the Rangers starter.
In the bottom of the second, Erick beat out an infield hit to first, Joe walked and Erick moved to third. With two outs he tried to score on a wild pitch as Coach Grossman happily sent him, but he was out at home after a nice play by the Jays. As the inning ended, it was still 1-0 Rangers after two.
Erick came on in the third and through heat. He walked the first batter and got the next batter to ground out back to the mound. He struck out the next batter but then gave up a walk to the leadoff man. A wild pitch moved the runner to third and another wild pitch scored a run for the Jays. With two outs, the next batter hit a sharp smash to center field to score the second run. The Jays now held a lead. This was the first time the Rangers have been behind all season and the team sat stunned in the dugout (Editors Note: Yes the Rangers have lost a couple, but in each game, the winning run occurred in the last at bat of the game – hence our resident sportswriter is correct in his assertion that the Rangers have not trailed during a game). Erick settled down to strike out the last batter of the inning. In the bottom of the third, the Jays starter remained in the game. With two outs the Juan was hit by a pitch for the second time of the game and Bryon walked. Juan again stole third and tried to score on a wild pitch, but he was out by just a step. Rangers fans groaned as Coach Grossman had now failed twice and this reporter heard many comments about the vast potential of Coach Goldstein given his outstanding work on Saturday. After three it was Jays 2 Rangers 1.
In the fourth, Andy came on and was nothing short of masterful. He struck out a batter, got the next to hit a soft grounder back to the mound and struck out another batter. The Rangers again went to work in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Tommy S. drilled a long double to left. John hit a sharp single to left and Coach Grossman signaled that he wanted Tommy to score, but for reasons that this reporter is sure will cause high blood pressure in Coach Grossman, Tommy decided to not run home. Anyway, it was runners on third and second with no outs. Erick walked to load the bases and Joe walked to score Tommy. After four it was Jays 2 Rangers 2.
In the fifth Andy made things look easy as he quickly struck out three batters on eight pitches. That closed the book on Andy with five strikeouts, no runs, no hits. The Rangers only needed a run in the bottom of the fifth and they went to work. Christian got a lead off walk and Spencer drilled a shot back to the mound as Christian advanced to second. Coach Grossman, still applying his brand of “send-runners-all-the-time” baseball signaled for Christian to try to take third. Christian took off and the Jays fired down to third. The throw was off line and rolled away from the fielders so Christian scored easily. Final score: Rangers 3 Jays 2.
Coach Grossman had very little time as the Rangers play again on Thursday. He said, “I was proud of our team. They handled their first deficit nicely, no one gave up and I sensed a lot of confidence on the bench. In the field we looked pretty alert, but a couple of guys are still not in ready position when the pitcher throws the ball. We’ll make that a key focus on Thursday and we’ll certainly work on it in practice. Tommy’s hit was impressive and Tommy and Andy really are doing a fantastic job on the mound. I like how Erick is progressing and our catching core of Juan, Spencer and John certainly did a fine job. However, special note must be given to Spencer who got his first big hit today and it just couldn’t have come at a better time.”
When asked some very pointed questions about sending two runners home and having them each out at the plate, Coach Grossman said, “You reporters always think you know everything. If they would have scored, you would think I was a genius – its fun to try and even if we are out, it sends a message to the other team that we like to hustle.” Coach Goldstein said, “I have no idea why Coach Grossman always sends guys home, but its his call and occasionally it even works and I don’t get asked these questions. Overall, our guys looked good today and I’m looking forward to Thursday’s game.”