MLBbro.com lead baseball reporter Malik Wright spoke to Texas Rangers All-Star second baseman Marcus Semien, who provided his opinion on what the Rangers have to do against the scrappy Arizona Diamondbacks to win the first World Series in franchise history.
Marcus Semien reached base safely in four of his five Game 6 at-bats, knocking in two singles, walking twice and scoring a run in the Rangers 9-2 win over the Astros. Now, just one game stands between him and his first career World Series appearance.
Semien Game 6
Desperation was the word of the day for the Texas Rangers and specifically Marcus Semien who has struggled all postseason long as faced elimination Sunday night. He came into the game with urgency to do whatever it took to get on base safely and showed great patience by drawing a four pitch walk in his first at-bat.
In his final at-bat of the night, Semien would single as the Rangers would end up loading the bases and hitting a grand slam to put a bow on top of their pivotal Game Six win and set their sights on the biggest game of the season and for Semien the biggest of his career.
“This will be my first career Game Seven,” Semien told reporters postgame.
“We had our backs against the wall tonight and I think we should come out with the same mentality.”
Astros could not shut the door
Dusty Baker and his Astros had their chances to knock out the Rangers early in the game but failed to do so despite getting a run on the board in the first inning. He had to pull his starting pitcher after only five innings of work.
In the 8th inning with the bases loaded and two outs, Baker decided to pinch hit Jon Singleton for last season’s World Series MVP with his team down by two runs. Singleton, who was an unsung hero for his walk in Game Five that preceded Altuve’s game-winning home run, had another great at-bat but would end up striking out with a full count.
“He is a really good pitcher with really good stuff,” Singleton told reporters when discussing his final at-bat.
“I fouled off some decent pitches, but ended up chasing a ball up.”
Outfielder Michael Brantley got the start in left field for Houston and would finish 0-for-3 with two walks and added another web gem to his highlight reel with a sliding catch in the top of the eighth.
“We need to turn the page and get ready for tomorrow,” was the message Brantley gave to his teammates ahead of the greatest thing we get in sports, Game Seven.
We will see if these MLBbros can become a part of baseball history Monday night at 7 PM. central.
Dusty Baker has his Astros one win away from clinching their third consecutive spot in the World Series after taking a 3-2 series lead over Marcus Semien’s Texas Rangers in firework-filled Game 5 that saw him ejected after the teams cleared the benches.
Tensions between these interstate rivals go back as far as 2017, when the Astros began their reign of terror over the American League and the Rangers missed the playoffs to start a string of six consecutive years before this season.
Dusty gets tossed
In the 8th inning with a runner on first and the Rangers leading 4-2, Adolis Garcia was hit by a Bryan Abreu fastball on the first pitch of the at-bat.
Both teams emptied the benches and even though no punches were thrown three people were ejected from the game: Garcia, Abreu and Astros manager Dusty Baker.
“It did not make any sense to me,” Baker told reporters when they asked him if he thought there was any intent with the hit-by-pitch.
“They explained to me the guy just hit a three-run homer, but that was a mistake that he hit that homer on. His ball was down and in and we were not trying to go down and in. We pitch him up and anytime you are throwing a projectile 97mph some are going to get away. I do not care if you are a Big League, Hall of Fame, I do not care who you are.”
Jon Singleton passes the baton:
After the dust settled, there was still baseball to be played in the top half of the 9th and for first baseman Jon Singleton, his first career playoff at-bat turned out to be the difference maker.
His ability to work a walk allowed the tying run to reach first base, putting immense pressure on the Rangers pitching staff which led to a go-ahead three-run homer by Jose Altuve, who Dusty praised highly earlier in the week.
“Hard work and discipline helps me stay ready so I do not have to get ready,” Singleton told reporters after the game.
“This is a special team and that is all I can ask for, going out and helping them get a W.”
‘Game Six Semi” must become a reality:
This has been anything but a dream playoff run for second baseman Marcus Semien who was coming off another Hall of Fame caliber season.
In Game Five he took home an 0-for-5 game that saw him leave four runners on base, including flying out with runners on first and third with no outs and lining out to shortstop in the 9th inning with two on and no outs.
He also made an error when trying to get the ball out of his glove on a double play, but made up for it with a diving stop with the bases loaded to keep his Rangers in the game early.
Despite making the out, we saw signs of life from Semien at the plate in his last at-bat.
He has been getting pitches to hit, but has not been able to do any damage through the first five games as his batting average sits at a disappointing .159 this postseason.
However Semien can still write a proper ending to his story if he delivers big over the weekend.
He has seen success off of projected starter Framber Valez before including in Game Two of the series where he had two hits.
Texas could move him down to the two spot in order to change some of his mojo, but no matter where he is in the lineup, the Rangers will go as Semien and his half a billion dollar middle infield partner Corey Seager can take them
The American League Championship Series is tied at 2-2 after Houston’s 10-3 win over the Texas Rangers on
Marcus Semien was on the wrong side of luck in Game Four after he was tagged out on his batting gloves after a line drive in the Ranger final attempt at a rally in what ended up being a 10-3 loss to Dusty Baker and his Astros.
“Just bad luck, if I sprint back on that liner, I probably get hit with the ball,” Semien told reporters postgame when describing the play that felt like the final dagger in the backs of Texas.
“Just a tough play and a good play by Abreu.”
Texas trailed 7-3 and had their first two batters of the inning reach base in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Semien, who began the game with a 103 MPH line out to center field ended the night 1-for-4 and is still batting under .200 in the ALCS, singled before being called out after instant replay showed he was tagged on his gloves.
“I have worn my gloves in my back pocket my entire career and that has never happened,” said Semien.
“Of course, in the ALCS it happens. It is tough, you want to get a big inning there. We get two hits; Corey hits the ball hard and instead there are two outs.
ALCS Tied At 2-2: Now A Three-Game Series
After securing postseason career win #56 Dusty Baker and the Astros evened up the series at 2-2, making it a best-of-three from here on out.
Houston was 8-for-16 with runners in scoring position in Game Four and the top five hitters in his lineup were 9-for-19 for a .474 average with eight RBI, five walks and eight runs scored.
Game Five will begin Friday afternoon at 4 P.M. Central time in Arlington.
With a lefty on the mound for Texas, Michael Brantley will probably be looked to be used off the bench as a weapon at the plate.