There are times when you’re resigned to losing, and times when you’re mad about losing. This was a mad day. The Rangers had opportunity after opportunity, and couldn’t do anything. As the reports say, they were 0-7 with runners in scoring position (mostly Kenny Lofton, after stealing four bases). To lose when the opponent only gets two runs out of this pitching staff is disappointing. To lose with your final batter, a former batting champ, a multi-All-Star, the 80 million dollar man, standing with his bat on his shoulder, that’s frustrating. How many times did he foul pitches off, and then leave one alone that was almost right down the middle? The least he could have done is swing at it wildly, like he was earlier in the year, striking out on a ridiculous pitch six inches outside. But no, this was a pitch to hit, this was the one he was waiting for, and he watched it go by to end the game. I remember getting really mad at Wilkerson earlier this year, watching the final strike of the game, so I have to get mad at Michael Young too. At least he had the guts to say he blew it though.
For what it’s worth, I could not tell who won the race between Papelbon and Lofton. They didn’t slow it down enough, but of all that I saw I said that the tie goes to the runner. So it’s also annoying that the wire stories said that replays showed Papelbon might have beaten Lofton. That’s absolutely not true, and there’s no need to introduce that bit of bias into your story.
Get this, from the Rangers site about Jamey Wright: “He is now 68-100 in his career, a .404 winning percentage that is the lowest by an active pitcher with at least 100 decisions.” So why is he pitching for us? Okay, sure, wins are really a team thing, not a pitcher thing, but you know, after a long enough period you can kind of tell what the pitcher is like too. And looking him up on Baseball Reference, we see he is a career 93 ERA+, a little below average. Why is he with the Rangers? I’m guessing Jon Daniels would say something like “veteran presence”. I’d say something like “blocking a young pitcher from getting major league experience”. Is he going to be with the Rangers when they start winning in 2010? No. Is he going to be here even next year? Doubtful. He’s 32, he’s not part of the future and the present isn’t hopeful. Heck, get Mike Wood back up and give him an extended trial. At least he’s only 27, and might be able to stick around a bit. Of course, his ERA+ is only 81, but it’s also only in 300 innings, whereas Wright has had 1475 innings. At what point is a pitcher’s future determined? Is 300 innings enough to show what his career will be like? My very preliminary analysis says that it might be, but that’s for another day.
Vazquez showed why you need a third baseman at third base, or at least why you need to be able to think faster. Personally, I’m not really sold on him. I don’t think he’s much of a keeper, he’s really just about replacement level, meaning there’s a hundred other guys who could do the same job. Once again, 30 year old roster filler, but why block someone who could use the experience? Travis Metcalf is up, but he should be playing every day. It doesn’t matter if you want to try platooning him. Let him try. The more he sees, the better he will be. And no, watching from the bench does not count.
I would love to have just one at-bat against Tim Wakefield. I know, I know, he fools people who can actually hit a baseball, but every time I see him I wonder why the Rangers aren’t pounding him, and I always end up saying “come on, I could do better than that!”.
Ultimately a bad loss, even though they fought all the way. I’d rather succeed than try. Still, as I said earlier in the week, they’re now playing good teams. Two losses in a row puts them back to normal, and with Tejeda against Beckett tomorrow, I’d put my money on three losses in a row. But at least he’s getting the ball every fifth day, not being jacked around, or buried behind some old fart who’s got nothing left.