At a loss.

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The Tigers have to
scratch their scheduled starter hours before gametime, with a bullpen whose
tensile strength was already being put to the test asked to go nine innings on
the road in a nearly sold-out game against the other team’s number one starter.  Each of the Rangers’ three AL West
division-mates had already lost. 

 

That’s a game you’ve
got to win.

 

Texas backs its ace with
four runs on seven hits and two walks through the first inning and two-thirds. 

The remaining seven
and a third against the Detroit pen: Zero runs on four hits and a walk.

 

Meanwhile, Scott
Feldman (still fighting the effects of the stomach flu, maybe? hopefully?)
gives up eight straight runs after being staked to that 4-0 lead, surrendering
eight hits and four walks and a costly wild pitch in 3.2 innings.  Feldman didn’t have a start in 2009 as bad as
either of these last two until his 18th start of the season – at home
against Detroit.

 

That’s a bad loss.

 

Three times in the last five games, Texas has squandered a
four-run lead.

 

Five times in the last seven games, the Rangers starter has
failed to go five innings.

 

Doug Mathis, bravo.  No
better a ball-to-strike efficiency tonight than Feldman, but he battled.  He might find himself back on the shuttle,
necessarily, but that was a solid effort. 

 

Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
proposes that one way to address the lack of a second lefthander in the bullpen
would be to option Mathis and call Derek Holland up, not to replace Rich
Harden, but Matt Harrison, who would slide into relief.  If that’s in consideration, it would make
more sense to get a reliever up here in Mathis’s place until Holland could go
on Wednesday.  Harrison probably can’t pitch
tomorrow even though he threw only 75 pitches on Wednesday, because he likely
threw a side yesterday or today. 

 

Regardless, maybe Pedro Strop (seven straight scoreless
outings, but he did pitch last night and tonight) or Guillermo Moscoso or Omar
Beltre (four scoreless outings out of five) or Alexi Ogando or Zach Phillips,
all of whom are on the roster (though all right-handed other than Phillips), or
southpaw Clay Rapada, who isn’t, could come up here in Mathis’s place to hold
things down in long relief until Holland’s spot came up Wednesday.  If Wilson is onto something.

 

Through 17 games in 2009, Texas issued 73 walks and fanned 99,
holding opponents to a .282 batting average and throwing 17.8 pitches per
inning.

 

Through 17 games this year, Texas has issued 72 walks and
fanned 123, holding opponents to a .251 batting average and throwing 17.8
pitches per inning.

 

Yet the Rangers were 8-9 through 17 last year, 7-10 right
now. 

 

Why?

 

The offense through the first 17 in 2009: .274/.331/.513, 105
runs, 35 home runs.  This year:
.240/.315/.366, 71 runs, 12 home runs. 

 

How does Vladimir Guerrero factor into all that?  Big Bad Vlad had a lifetime line of
.394/.471/.705 in 193 at-bats as an opponent in Rangers Ballpark.  Nobody expected him to be
that
ridiculous in a Rangers uniform, but you know what?  In 31 home at-bats this year, he sits at
.548/.576/.839.

 

Then again, he’s at .194/.257/.226 in the same number of road
at-bats.

 

Three bad moments for Taylor Teagarden defensively tonight.  Seems pretty certain that once Jarrod
Saltalamacchia proves on his Oklahoma City rehab assignment that he’s ready, he
and Teagarden will switch uniforms.

 

Saltalamacchia caught all nine innings and singled, walked,
and hit an RBI sac fly in four trips for the RedHawks tonight.  Also in that game was Chris Davis’s first
2010 home run, a three-run blast to right field that extended Oklahoma City’s eighth-inning
lead to 8-3 (in a game the RedHawks eventually won, 8-7).

 

Ian Kinsler will rehab with Frisco Monday through Wednesday and
could join the Rangers in Seattle on Friday. 
Tommy Hunter threw 19 pitches (13 strikes) in an extended spring
training game today in Surprise.

 

Crummy loss tonight.  Sometimes
when I write about a game like this, it’s therapeutic, cathartic, but tonight I’m
stuck with the feeling you get when you lose a routine fly ball in the lights
or the dusk or whatever it was.

 

 

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(c) Jamey Newberg

http://www.newbergreport.com

Twitter 
@newbergreport

 

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