I was in the middle of writing a blog entry last night, probably the best I’ve ever written, one that would have changed the world as you know it, when boom! We lost power. There was a storm going through, but it wasn’t a big one, there had only been a couple of rounds of lightning and thunder, nothing special compared to some of the Texas-sized storms we get. It was raining, but only lightly. So it was odd that the power went out like that. It was off for about 20 minutes, and when I got back online, my post was gone. For some reason I thought that WordPress automatically saved as I write, but I guess not. So, you’ll have to miss out on those words of wisdom and get these ones instead.
The Rangers have won two in a row eight times this season, but only once have they won three (and never four). Tonight they go for three against the Reds, after they held on to beat the Reds yesterday 7-6. It was a game that Ron Washington tried to lose, because after getting to a 7-4 lead in the fifth, he allowed Padilla to give up two more runs and make it 7-6. It was pretty obvious that he wanted Padilla to get through five so he would be eligible for the win, which he eventually got but only because the bullpen shut them down the rest of the way. Padilla gave up 6 runs on 12 hits in five innings, throwing 102 pitches. That’s frankly ridiculous. In fact, the Rangers got him a 2-0 lead in the second, he gave the Reds a 4-2 lead by the fourth, and after the Rangers scored five in the top of the fifth he came back and gave them two more, and you could just about see the rest of the Rangers thinking “not again!”, and “what do we have to do for this guy?”. I can’t tell you the number of times that has happened this year, where the hitters just seem beaten down by the starters. It seems like every game. At least this time he didn’t give up the runs in the first inning, and make the game over before it really got started.
If the Rangers beat the Reds tonight they will swap places for the worst record in baseball. I’m surprised anyone is at these games. Actually, they might be there just to see the Reds uniforms. I really liked the way the names and numbers on their shirts looked, the design was good, the colors were excellent, well shadowed, sort of ruby looking. The Rangers with their blocky white names and numbers should take some design tips from the Reds. If they looked like that, I’d buy a new Rangers shirt.
Have you checked out the pitching leaderboard lately? Right now there are 42 pitchers qualified for the leaderboard, meaning they’ve pitched at least one inning per game their team has played. The Rangers are 25-42, so they’ve played 67 games. Tejeda has 68 innings pitched, but he’s not on the board. It’s a shame, because if he was, the Rangers would have the incredible feat of having the bottom three spots. Instead they only have the bottom two, in Loe and Padilla. Millwood only has 48 innings, but if he was qualified he’d make it four out of four at the bottom. McCarthy has 50 innings, but if he qualified he’d still be ahead of Odalis Perez so the Rangers wouldn’t get the clean sweep of the bottom. Has a team ever had the bottom four spots before?
Is it likely that all five of them will make the list by the end of the season, barring further injury? Tejeda should. McCarthy is on the DL right now but should be back soon. Millwood is furthest away, and needs another 114 innings to get to 162. He’ll have 19 more starts if he’s healthy the rest of the year, and pitches every fifth game. That’s exactly six innings per game he needs to qualify, but since he’s only managed 4.8 so far, that’s a stretch. Of course, I expect him to improve a little in the second half, simply by virtue of regressing to the mean (or should that be progressing to the mean?). He might just make to 162. With McCarthy set to miss a couple of starts, I doubt he’ll make it. The other should, unless the Rangers tire of sending them out and get someone else in. Loe is probably at the biggest risk, since he was already sent down once. He pitched well when he was called back, but if he doesn’t repeat that he may be back down again. Padilla, well, they gave him the big contract but he’s going to be closing in on 20 losses and might go to the bullpen to avoid that happening. He’s already a pretty psychologically fragile pitcher, 20 losses might send him over the edge.
If you don’t read the Management By Baseball blog, you should. It’s always got interesting stuff on it. And if you don’t want to read it regularly, you should check out a couple of the recent entries, interviews with Jon Daniels about his background and what he is trying to accomplish when evaluating players to trade. There are more parts to come apparently, so put it in your feed list and watch out for the next installments. Most disappointing to me is how he emphasizes his relationship to John Hart, who I have said before I don’t like, especially after his time with the Rangers, which seemed to be a vanity job, not something he took seriously. And in part two, as you read it, think about how Eric Gagne is going to be traded any week now.
Okay, I’m going to drink some more coffee and hope that Sammy hits number 600 soon, so we can get rid of him and begin the Jason Botts era. Botts has been treated badly by Rangers management, rotting in the minors when he has been ready for a couple of years. How do you think he’d be doing if he had a couple of years of big league experience under his belt? And what do you think he will say when he hits free agency? How about, “sorry, you didn’t bring me up when you should have, so I’m going somewhere else to play”? If we’d gotten him here two years ago he’d be a regular now, he’d be solidifying one of the outfield spots, and he’d have the potential to be here for several years. Instead, he’ll be out of options after this season, so he’ll either stick for good or be somewhere else next spring. Yet another example of the poor management the Rangers have shown since Hicks came to town, under all the GMs he’s hired.