Texas hammered Cliff Lee for eight runs, all earned, over five innings, and it wasn’t enough. Not close.
Tanner Scheppers struck out twice as many as Lee did on the day, but then again those numbers were merely two and one, and in fact of the 93 pitches Scheppers threw, only two were swung at and missed. Scheppers — too amped up, maybe? — was up in the zone all day, and the Phillies took lots of pitches, spoiled a bunch of two-strike offerings, and squared up over and over, when they weren’t pool-cueing balls down the third base line.
If I ever give up on the NFL or NBA, it will be brutal officiating that pushes me away. In baseball, it would be missing the strike zone — leading not only to walks but also to lots of hitters’ counts — and Scheppers’s ugly 55 percent strike rate on Monday was only marginally worse than the first three Texas relievers tasked with keeping the club in the game, after the offense created the opportunity.
Philadelphia’s first seven runs (and 11 of 14 overall) came with two outs. Frustrating.
But look: Texas is not going to lose more games than it wins in 2014, and it’s not going to win twice as many as it loses.
Somewhere comfortably between 54 and 81 losses is the number of times this year the other team will end the game fist-bumping in the middle of the diamond. Yesterday was just one of those.
Slam dunk: Two points.
Phillies 14, Rangers 10 doesn’t change this team’s forecast by 20 games, or 10. It probably doesn’t really change it by one, and I’d be surprised if USA Today’s Bob Nightengale recants yesterday’s tweet and picks a new AL pennant winner based on the first one of 162.
When the Angels have a sixth-inning, 3-1 lead in Jered Weaver’s hands and lose their opener by seven runs, and when Oakland’s new closer — its highest-paid pitcher, in fact — makes his A’s debut by going five-pitch walk/single/hit batsman/Nyjer Morgan sac fly/run-scoring single in the ninth to take the loss, you’ve probably got a bunch of LAA and OAK fans this morning trying to pull their friends off a cliff from which the three teams picked by everyone to win the West now look up at the division-leading Mariners and idle Astros, offering up flimsy April Fools’ references to help ease the completely unnecessary pain.
(Speaking of which: Yes, Angels hitting coach Don Baylor broke his leg catching Vladimir Guerrero’s ceremonial first pitch yesterday. It happened.)
You can use up some energy this morning harping on Michael Choice’s game-opening assignment on Monday, or Martin Perez’s, or your level of trust in Alexi Ogando, or you can shift your focus to Perez and A.J. Burnett tonight, which is what I feel like doing, because this is baseball, and by the time we close the books on Tuesday, Texas could be tied for first in the division, while you and I and Yu and Matty and Jurickson and Derek and Colby and Geovany look on, watching this team fight to hold its ground until the reinforcements start arriving.