The current ESPN Power Rankings rate the Rangers 28th out of 30 teams. While I might quibble with that a little, the suggestion that they’re only better than the Royals and Nationals isn’t far off the mark. Comparing to the rest of the list, you might at a stretch make a case for them being as high as 20th, but only if you said a bunch of other bad teams were a little worse, which the record doesn’t show. Curiously enough though, the division rivals A’s and Angels rank 9th and 10th, with the Mariners at 17th. They are still in touching distance, but it’s getting further away, especially with the loss to the Angels last night.
John Lackey is one of the best pitchers in the league, but to only get to him in the bottom of the 9th was a poor hitting effort. Just two hits in the first eight innings is not going to get it done, not when you’re at home against a team you’ve got to start beating. But for all the complaining I do about the hitting, they are 11th overall in runs scored. They’re 28th in runs allowed. You’d say it was the pitching, and you’d be right. But for whatever odd reason, the pitching just seems to be better, and the hitting failing. Maybe it’s the Ranger perception, that we always have bad pitching, and the hitting keeps us alive.
Padilla wasn’t bad last night, four runs (three earned) in seven innings. But just as Laird’s beating the rundown seemed like a game breaker on Thursday, Ian Kinsler’s error on Friday night worked the same way, in the opposite direction. Down 2-0 with the bases loaded, a neat double-play ball rolled straight through Kinsler’s legs. Instead of sitting in the dugout, they were down 4-0. Kinsler looked embarrassed, Washington later said that he sometimes lacks concentration. That seems to be the perception of this whole team so far this year, just going through the motions at times. Showalter was fired because he was too overbearing, too disciplined, and Washington was brought in to be a player’s manager. It’s not working yet.
I had the wild thought of seeing when Lackey is a free agent, both to get him out of our division and also to sign a Texas boy (Abilene) to pitch for us, but he’s signed through 2009 (club option), so three more years of this. Well, hopefully not three years of this.