The team was reeling, and was trailing in a game in which (and, all too familiarly, in spite of the fact that) Yu Darvish was shoving.
Until Shin-Soo Choo did to the Rays late what so many clubs have been doing to Texas late.
And then, an extra inning later, Carlos Gomez and Joey Gallo executed productive outs, not often enough the thing we get to say about them. Or this offense.
After which Elvis Andrus hit a ball hard, and though Evan Longoria prevented it from being even more productive, he couldn’t prevent it from being a base hit rather than a third out, and Texas led.
And then the Rays kicked off the bottom of the 10th, needing a run to stay alive and two to win, with a Steven Souza Jr. pinch-hit single off a Rangers reliever, because this is 2017.
Up stepped light-hitting nine-hole hitter Adeiny Hechavarria, who had just come to the Rays recently in a dump-off trade from the Marlins.
Catching for the Rangers was Robinson Chirinos, who had just come into the game after Jonathan Lucroy’s leadoff walk in the top of the inning brought Delino DeShields into the game to pinch-run, and to advance to second on Gomez’s productive out, and to advance to third on Gallo’s productive out, and to score on Andrus’s well-struck infield single, and to leave the game defensively for Chirinos as the bottom of the frame got underway.
On deck was Mallex Smith. He’d homered off Darvish earlier.
In the hole was Corey Dickerson. He’d homered off Darvish earlier, too.
Hechavarria’s charge was clear. Move Souza to second with a productive out, giving Smith (or pinch-hitter Trevor Plouffe) and Dickerson opportunities to tie the game, if not win it.
It’s 2017, and as such the former option seemed worth hoping for.
But then Hechavarria squared and Hechavarria connected and Chirinos sprung, and the baseball moved forward maybe three feet, which for an instant was three feet more than Hechavarria moved, but a few feet less than how much Chirinos moved, and the light-hitting nine-hole hitter’s failure to bunt the baseball a marginally greater distance and the light-hitting nine-hole hitter’s failure to start on his 90-foot path when he should have led instead to a sweet 2–6–3 double play that should have been much more difficult to complete, if at all.
While all the above was going down, this is where I was:
That’s where I was, too, when Plouffe stepped up with Tampa Bay still down, 4–3, only now with the tying run at the plate rather than on the bases, after which Plouffe flew out to left, ending a game that the Rangers have lost too often this season, but not this time.
I don’t know if there were any Rays fans at Lyceum Theatre last night, but if there were I have a good idea what they’d have been thinking as the show ended and they checked to see how the ballgame ended, and what they’d have just about no choice but to title a blog entry, if that were their thing.