THE NEWBERG REPORT — APRIL 3, 2007

Losses are particularly hard to take when they feature things like this:

* Eight runners left on base, including five stranded in scoring position (all in the first six innings)

* Hitlessness in eight trips with runners in scoring position

* A bunch of pitches hit right on the screws, but right into gloves

I don’t take losses very well, particularly in games I’ve been waiting six months for. The failure to capitalize last night was really frustrating, and it wasn’t always because of great Angels pitching — I thought Kevin Millwood (despite throwing strikes under 60 percent of the time) looked better than John Lackey — there were great Gary Matthews Jr. catches and line drive outs and failed bunt attempts responsible for the missed opportunities as well.

It all added up to Angels 4, Rangers 1, and I went to sleep grumbling. One more reason I hate playing in the AL West. When games start at a reasonable time locally, I at least have some time to let a loss wear off before going to sleep.

Here’s my knee-jerk overreaction after losing one of 162 (but also after a month of exhibition play): by time Kameron Loe works his way back into the Rangers rotation, Brad Wilkerson will have played himself out of the regular outfield rotation. He still doesn’t look right.

Fired up for tonight. Texas is going to open a can up on Kelvim Escobar (2-8, 4.52 lifetime against the Rangers, including 0-3, 7.16 last year), get solid pitching from Vicente Padilla (3-0, 3.77 lifetime against the Angels, including 2-0, 1.93 in Angels Stadium), and even up the record going into Wednesday’s rubber match.

And if we lose, I’m not going to bed right away. I’ll just head to the TiVo to watch tonight’s season premiere of “The Shield.”

But I’d much prefer to celebrate by watching it.

You can read more from Jamey Newberg at www.NewbergReport.com.

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