Rangers Farm Report: Games of Tuesday 26 September

Box Scores

AAA Pacific Coast League Championship
Round Rock 3, at Oklahoma City (LAD) 8
Round Rock trails best-of-three 0-1
Round Rock: 4 hits, 7 walks, 13 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 7 walks, 7 strikeouts

SP Robert Dugger: 1.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 1 SO
RP Edwar Colina: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 SO
RP Triston Polley: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 1 SO
RP Scott Engler: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO
LF Wyatt Langford: 0-2, 3 BB, SB
3B Davis Wendzel: 2-4, 2B
RF Sandro Fabian: 2-4

I mentioned OKC’s favorable starting pitching yesterday in the preview, and it was indeed critical to yesterday’s result. In 29 starts, Round Rock’s most reliable starter Robert Dugger had failed to reach three innings only twice. Yesterday became the third. Dugger walked two and allowed four balls in play in excess of 97 MPH, all hits.

As for OKC’s Kyle Hurt, Round Rock had scored five against him in eight innings across two regular-season appearances, but on Tuesday Hurt matched his AAA-best eight strikeouts and limited the Express to a run in four innings. Hurt’s fastball hovered mostly around 96-97, and he added a highly effective changeup and a few curves.

Down 4-0 in the 4th, Davis Wendzel singled and later scored on a Sandro Fabian single. Another run came in the 5th when Wyatt Langford drew the second of his three walks, stole second, and scored on an error.

Round Rock had its best opportunity in the 6th. Wendzel began with a double and scored on another Fabian single following a Jonathan Ornelas walk. With two on and none out, the Express gained nothing more than another Langford walk, leaving the bases full. OKC catcher Hunter Feduccia rapped a solo homer off Kyle Cody in the 6th.

The 7th was a mess. With one on and one out, a hard grounder up the middle deflected off SS Ornelas’s foot (or maybe very hard off his glove) into center, ruled a hit. Then, reliever Antoine Kelly muffed a potential double-play comebacker. He retrieved the ball in time for a possible out at first but airmailed the throw. Instead of a 5-3 score heading into the 8th, OKC led 6-3 with two runners in scoring position and one out. Both runners would score on a subsequent single by leadoff hitter Drew Avans, 4-4 with a walk on the night.

The hits by Wendzel and Fabian that I mentioned were the totality of Round Rock’s batted output. The Express had one baserunner after the 6th. Ex-Ranger Ricky Vanasco threw a scoreless 8th despite throwing outside the zone on nine of 12 pitches.

Tonight, Owen White faces off against Gavin Stone, who has spent most of the last month in the Majors. Stone faced the Express three times during the regular season, twice dealing six scoreless innings in OKC and once allowing a lone run (on a Justin Foscue homer)  in 5.1 innings in Round Rock. I saw the Texas outing and had mixed feelings, as Stone had trouble with location but also induced a ton of whiffs against his changeup. Stone is good but not indomitable.

White faced the Dodgers on the road three times in August and never allowed fewer than five runs. If he can complete four innings with, say, three runs, that’ll be… okay. Fully rested bullpen members are Anderson, Bush, Church, Rodriguez, Slaten, and Speas. The roster also lists Josh Sborz on rehab.

Tonight’s broadcast is free per MiLB.tv, so everyone has a chance to watch. Or you could read a book, go for a walk, take a relaxing bath. It’s up to you.

Late news: IF Davis Wendzel was IL’ed, and IF Jax Biggers is active.

MiLB announced the AA Texas League award winners. OF Evan Carter is on the All-Star team along with LHP Antoine Kelly. The league MVP is IF Thomas Saggese, who batted .318/.385/.551 with 25 homers and 11 steals between Frisco and Springfield. Saggese was recently promoted to AAA Memphis, where he hit .207/.270/.345 in 13 games.IF Luisangel Acuna was named as a utility player.

Rangers Division Scenarios After Today’s Result

MLB eliminated single-game playoffs in case of regular-season ties, but that doesn’t make the situation any less complicated. More so, if anything, because Houston owns the tiebreak over Texas, Texas owns Seattle, and Seattle owns Houston, plus Seattle owns the three-way tiebreak, and there still a possibility that all three finish with 89 wins.

Houston is eliminated from division contention with a loss today, no matter what Texas does. Houston’s path is complicated by Texas and Seattle playing each other this weekend, meaning Houston can only gain ground on one team on any given day. The best scenario for Texas today is a win plus a Houston loss, which eliminates the Astros and reduces Seattle’s path to a four-game sweep of Texas this weekend. The worst would be a Texas loss and Houston win, which eliminates nobody and leaves a path for the Astros to claim the division without a sweep.

Best as I can tell, there are 512 potential W-L permutations between the three teams, and Texas comes out ahead in 460 (89.8%). Fangraphs gives Texas an 87% chance of winning the division.

Here’s a really confusing chart with all the paths for a non-Texas team to win the division depending on today’s results.