Marian said after today’s win that the Rangers are having a good road trip. When I reminded her that they’d lost twice in Cleveland to start the trip, she said she meant good trip to Canada. And maybe she’s right. Maybe getting out of the country is the breath of fresh air that the Rangers needed. Winning twice in Toronto is a good start. Tex hit his second HR in two days, Laird was 3-5 with his first HR of the season, even Wilkerson got a big hit in a good spot. Wilkerson did look kind of lost a few times at first base though.
On the other side, Blalock showed he isn’t a very good third baseman, making a critical error which was the primary cause of Aki’s blown save. Okay, he drove in the winning run, but come on, bases loaded and one out, just about all he had to do was stay out of a double play (not guaranteed the way he’s been playing). I looked at the stats on ESPN today and found he is in the bottom three of third basemen in most fielding categories, and looking at his career numbers on Baseball Reference, he’s below average for his career, too. Also looking there you will see how his OPS+ has been sliding each year, from 118 to 111 to 94 to 84 last year. Some will say he spent most of last year injured, but to that I say so what? There’s a point where you say I’m injured and I’m hurting the team, so I’m going to step out and get healthy. As long as you’re playing, you need to perform. But take a look at the minors, and there’s not much hope in the near future. Desi Relaford is playing 3rd in AAA (he of the career 74 OPS+ in the majors, and worse fielding than Blalock), and Travis Metcalf isn’t exactly lighting up the world in his second go round at AA. So it’s Hank, barring a trade (is David Wright available?).
I was sorry for Aki blowing the save, although as I said it wasn’t really his fault, and at least he got the win. Benoit got the save, although precariously, and I am surprised to see that it was only his second career save, the first back in 2002. All those years sucking at the back end of the Rangers bullpen, you’d think he’d have been the only guy available on more than two occasions in 6 years. And Millwood is becoming an enigma. A week ago I was thinking he’d win 18-20, but six starts in and he’s 2-3 with a 5.88 ERA, and today he was positively laboring out there. He’s pitched between 5 and 6 innings in every game, but only two of them have been Quality Starts (he won both), and one of those was the 6 inning 3 run kind, so barely qualifying. April’s the only month he doesn’t have a winning record though, at 19-19 in Baseball Reference (which includes this year’s 2-3), so hopefully things will get better for him in May.