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Rangers Survive Royals For Sweep

Final - 4.24.2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Kansas City Royals 0 0 0 1 1 0 2 0 3 7 12 0
Texas Rangers 0 1 0 1 6 0 0 0 X 8 11 0
WP: C.J. Wilson (3 - 0)
SV: Arthur Rhodes (1)
LP: Bruce Chen (3 - 1)

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In a game where 17 hitters reach base with three home runs, where you see a six run lead, and where the starter goes seven innings with ten strikeouts to one walk, you don't expect a close finish.

Brett Tomko disagrees.

Texas was on its way to a nice, easy victory. C.J. Wilson allowed four runs thanks in part to a .375 BABIP, but pitched extremely well, and certainly well enough to help the Rangers along to a comfortable 8-4 victory. Tomko came in to get the final six outs, and was greeted by a single to start the eighth, but escaped unscathed thanks to a double play and a strikeout of the reborn Jeff Francoeur.

Then came the ninth. Tomko proceeded to stretch his strike out run to three in a row before falling apart just one out from victory. Alcides Escobar singled, Andres Blanco couldn't make a difficult out on a Chris Getz ground ball, and there were two on for Mike Aviles.

Mike Aviles (Mike Aviles!) promptly blasted his second home run, and just like that, it was a one-run game.

In reality, it was not such a huge melt down as the score indicates. Tomko struck out three of the seven hitters he faced, and induced two ground balls. One ground ball was a double play, the second was a single. A different defensive set-up or a different route on the ground ball, and Getz is out to give the Rangers an 8-4 victory. The last guy he faced just happened to get a meatball, and a game that was never really close ended up looking tight in the box score. If Getz is out, the game probably is not quite as one-sided as 8-4 tells you, but the Royals were not quite as close as 8-7 suggests, and Tomko was not quite as bad as his runs allowed suggests. The home run only took the Royals' win expectancy from just over 1% to just under 4%, and it's certainly nothing to panic about when the last guy in the bullpen has some bad luck in a blow out and the team wins anyway.

If you're keeping up with run differential you can feel free to be upset about a lost opportunity (Texas still leads by two, but the runner-up Cardinals have yet to play), but other than that, a win is a win, and a sweep is a sweep. Every hitter but Mitch Moreland, who deserves a day off from killing baseballs, had a hit. The Rangers are right back to the team they looked like before the Angels series, with the best record in the American League, a multiple-game lead in the division, and an overall track record of dominance.

Also, this happened:


Frustrating final out, but another good day, finally another good series, and the continuing of a good season. The Rangers look like the best team in the American League, and close wins shouldn't take away from that.

Enjoy your Easter.


FanGraphs Win Expectancy


Biggest Contributions (What is this, I don't even. . . ?)

  1. Adrian Beltre 18%
  2. Mike Napoli 16%
  3. Andres Blanco 12%

Brian Knight's Strikezone from Brooks Baseball


Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.