Attention, sport purists! This blog contains details on two major league teams that turn the late inning of a baseball game into a deeply silly battle-of-will when a player strives for a statistical milestone. If reading about professional baseball players who give up for a very short time to earn a meaningless September victory causes you to involuntarily load the seat of your pants with fresh feces, stop by here!
The teams are the Boston Red Sox and the Texas Rangers, both of whom are officially out of the postseason for weeks. Rangers All-Star pitcher Mike Minor launched the contest with just nine eliminations of just under 200 a year, a number that would go well with his over 200 innings this season. With this game just about bupkis in the rankings, Rangers manager Chris Woodward showed his willingness to help Minor find the milestone as long as Minor could work within reach. Minor definitely wanted it. From the Fort Worth Star Telegram :
"It's an accomplishment I've looked at last season," Minor said. "Many people have talked about it. The last few games I tried to get there had a few guys. Today I came closer and knew that we were a few hits away, so I tried to make it. "
Minor held his end up and hit the jump. He knocked out two of the first three fights and fanned the page in the third. The Red Sox worked him for three runs to take the lead in the fourth inning, but Minor collected another strikeout in the frame and yet the Rangers responded with a fifth run to get their first lead. This was all very normal baseball until the seventh, when it turned out that Minor got a longer leash than usual. Jackie Bradley Jr. led the inning with one finger into the right center. Two batters later Chris Owings put one on the left wall and put the Red Sox back on top. Minor was then at 98 pitches, including 30 thrown in a dreaded, stressful fourth inning, and he had given up five earned runs. That he was not taken out of the game at that time and there was an indication that anything other than victory was being challenged by these teams.
But that was not the only clue. The two seventh and one intervening pop-out had all landed in first place for their respective bats, suggesting a growing awareness in the context of a Red Sox team that typically emphasizes disk discipline near Minor to one desired statistical milestone. Socks that in your brain, we'll be back soon. Minor added another 13 fields in the next three Red Sox bouts, placing the runners in second and third and causing a ground-out. This could have been for Minor if he had not got Sam Travis to finish the inning, and just removed him from this nice round number. Sure, his pitch count was high up, but this would be his final appearance in one season or another.
We can be sure that the Red Sox were determined not to let Minor get 200 strikeouts this season. Even if it meant losing the game because of what happened next. The Rangers grabbed the lead with seventh place with a pair of Homer and Minor sat on the hill for eighth place, settling in a game on a personal, season-best spot with no sign of the fate of his team. The Red Sox, who were more determined to break the strike into 200 strokes than to win a baseball game, responded by putting contact swings on the first three consecutive bats, resulting in two weak ground-outs and an infield pop-out Minor denied a shot at his goal as he shoots his own shot at the win. The Rangers understood the message, but were not convinced to surrender. The Star Telegram :
Minor said that Brock Holt, the former star of Stephenville High School, looked at the Rangers shelter and laughed after his pop-up appearance in the eighth round.  "To be honest, I have not seen a three note inning in my career," Woodward said. "I saw a guy swinging at the third pitch of an innings, but not to hit it fair and get out." I've never seen a threesome in three consecutive turns. It is what it is.
When Minor went to the shelter, Woodward told him he was not finished, even though he now has 120 parking spaces.
"I said, 'If they will do that' you go out again, 'said Woodward.
That would probably be even more ridiculous. Determined to deny the Red Sox, Minor opened the ninth place with a 64-mile Knuckleball for Red Sox Catcher Sandy León, whom León had no choice but to grab a ball. León immediately bid on the next seat and flew harmlessly to the left to sustain Boston's insignificant attempt to deny an honest shot at a strike-out strike. The next batsman, Owings, actually reached a 1: 1 count before gently emerging along the first baseline. Rangers' first base player, Ronald Guzmán, raced to the ball; As Rangers catcher Jose Trevino drifted into a lazy area just inches beyond the first baseline, he shouted to Guzmán to drop the ball. Guzmán gave in and dropped the ball to score two goals on Owings.
This was the most obvious action against the competition, but it is certainly in the same scope as giving up outs in a close game to a statistical outcome to achieve. Anyway, I think it rules. Red Sox manager Alex Cora obviously does not agree and is ready to stretch the concept of "playing in the right way" to its absolute breaking point in order to take the upper hand:
He shot while playing with Red spoke Sox authors.
"I'm just glad our boys are playing the game right," said Cora. "I can not do it with the Rangers, that's a question for [Woodward] over there, and he probably has the right answer."
But wait, there's more! Owings stepped back into the box for the fourth shot of the bat and Minor threw him an inner change that missed the zone high and, I dunno, a few inches lower. In any case, it was not a strike, but referee CB Bucknor, who had maybe had enough of this farce for one afternoon, called Owings anyway. Milestone reached! Minor was immediately removed from the game, and the Rangers held out for the 7-5 win. Here is this last sequence in all its absurd splendor:
Woodward said the Red Sox "set the tone" by saying " tried not to try "to win the game" during the eighth inning it is normal to get beaten up in a long regular game and lose a baseball game; Being kicked out and losing anyway is a heavy act of self-control. It is a shame that it had to come from a lazy, lazy, so-called strike, but the result is very satisfactory. Also, Minor Boston Globe Grumpus Pete Abraham gave the business: