Two series in, with Texas rolling out a rotation featuring just one pitcher (a 22-year-old) who was supposed to be there, and the club has won three, and lost three.
Three of those six games were started by a legitimate ace (Cliff Lee, David Price, Yu Darvish), and in all three cases his team won.
Even though in the two matchups the Rangers had against one of those beasts, they certainly could have won, putting eight runs on Lee’s ledger on Opening Day and then going to the bullpens Saturday with Nick Martinez matching Price’s six frames and Texas ahead, 4-3.
But sometimes things just fit, like teams winning when their aces take the ball, Adrian Beltre coming up big late, and Lance Berkman telling Houston reporters on Friday: “I probably shouldn’t have played last year.”
While other times they further populate the “You Can’t Predict Ball” column, like Neal Cotts getting beat, Elvis’s small sample outslugging Prince’s and Choo’s combined, and Russell Wilson locating his first pitch on Wednesday better than Jonathan Papelbon located his final pitch.
I’m not sure which category Yu Darvish’s MLB-record quickness to 500 strikeouts (401.2 innings, eclipsing Kerry Wood’s 404.2) belongs in, but I do know that if he had been the one to face off with Lee a week ago . . . .
Never mind. You never know.
Three wins and three losses, with a decimated rotation and, as a result, a bullpen missing two of its four most important pieces. And with the starting catcher and starting second baseman out for half the year.
Darvish is back, Colby Lewis’s next start may be in Arlington, and Matt Harrison isn’t far behind. The idea was for Texas to hold its ground until the cavalry starting rolling back in, and while .500 through two series could have been better, it sure could have been worse.
I wish this team were at full health, I wish Scott Baker had thrown the same day for Round Rock as Joe Saunders did for Texas — though Nick Tepesch lines up with Saunders and he was outstanding himself — and I wish I could stop thinking about how the Rangers could not touch Saunders on October 5, 2012, because that still makes zero sense, but it is what it is (“they are what they are” feels as flat as a run-scoring Josh Hamilton double play grounder off Saunders) and, again, given everything this team is having to fight through, .500 through six seems OK.
And one way or another, it seems unlikely that Saunders will end up making any more starts as a Ranger than Wilson Alvarez or Sam Narron or Mitch Williams did, whether it’s because of what Evan Longoria did to his push ankle or, more likely, a determination that Lewis is ready for this Friday’s assignment against Scott Feldman and the Astros.
And now I’m wondering what would have happened if Colby Lewis had gotten the ball against David Price this weekend, which has me thinking about what happened the last time those two teed it up, but then again Martinez absolutely did his job on Saturday.
Every time I write the words “David Price,” I think about all those trade rumors over the years that once involved Andrus and then Martin Perez and then Jurickson Profar, and about the fact that as the Rays haven’t yet had that season that would prompt them to shop their temporarily owned lefthander in July, the waves in the Texas system keep coming, and maybe this summer, if somehow Tampa Bay fails to hang in there, or perhaps next winter, when Price is a year from free agency, the names Rougned Odor and Luis Sardinas and Nick Williams and Luke Jackson and Alec Asher — and Nick Martinez — could start showing up in national columnists’ paragraphs that include the words “David Price.”
Or maybe Odor has the kind of 2014 that puts one of those older infielders back in the discussion. Don’t rule it out.
I’m not going to leave room for the possibility that Jorge Alfaro is relevant to the subject, because I’m just not.
So long, Jordan Akins. Hope football works out the way a lot of us hoped baseball would.
So long, Armando Galarraga. Hope the umpires are kinder to you in Taiwan.
Baseball takes unexpected turns, even over a season’s first six games, and while the number 500 is a lot more electrifying in the context of Yu Darvish’s prowess than a team’s win-loss record, this is a period of survival for the beaten-up Rangers, and when half of those first six had Texas giving pitchers their first-ever Major League starts, taking a 3-3 record to Boston doesn’t bother me one bit.