The game reports I read online tonight said that Padilla was good in getting his first win in over two months. Having watched the game on tv, I have to respectfully disagree. Granted, it was one of his better performances of the season. His game score of 61 was in fact tied for his second best of the year (behind the 65 he got against KC two weeks ago), and only the fifth time he’d gotten above 50 all year. He threw six innings (technically 6+, since he faced three batters in the 7th without retiring any of them), the most he’s thrown since May. He threw strikes all day long, at a 70% rate which is above average. He didn’t walk anyone, and only gave up five hits, all singles, and three of those were in the 7th. The numbers by themselves show that it was a good outing. So why do I disagree? Maybe because he’s Padilla? A little of that, in fact. Maybe it was because I spent the entire game waiting for the other shoe to drop. Maybe because he has so many times flown through a couple of innings, even three or four, and suddenly imploded, giving up a bunch of runs before they got him out of there (often even without them deciding to get him out at all). But I realize that this is the way I’m always going to think about Padilla, for the next two years of his contract at least. A ticking time-bomb, just waiting for something bad to happen to mess up his mind and make him fall apart. He’s given us so much of that, and I don’t know what else to think about him right now. It will take several good outings, and not just for the rest of this year (because I know he has the ability to revert again next year), to turn around my opinion of him.
But it was a nice win, excellent relief work from Frankie coming in with two on and none out, and retiring the side without giving up a run (and making Lopez look foolish while he did it). Jack was Jack, perfectly efficient, and CJ, well, I just think he has a mentality that if it isn’t a tough situation, he’s not really up for it. It seems like he’s a little less intense if things are too easy for him. Looking at his numbers this year, he’s come into the game nine times with a one run lead and not given up a single run. In fourteen appearances with a two to four run lead, he’s given up eight runs. That does seem to bear out my suggestion of intensity, doesn’t it? On the other hand, in seven games that were ties when he entered, he gave up four runs, and in six games when down by a run, he didn’t give up any. I would have to say small sample size effect. Hopefully we’ll have a lot more situations in the future to judge how he does when the game is on the line. Either way, Drew Davison in the game story on the Rangers site said “C.J. Wilson nearly cost Padilla the victory.”, and that’s a load of hooey. Even when he got the lead down to two, and had wild pitched in a run, I didn’t once think we were going to blow this game, and that’s the exact opposite of my feeling while Padilla was in.
Why did Mark Connor pull Padilla, instead of Ron Washington? Did he go out to talk to him, and have Padilla say he was done? I’m surprised Connor then pulled him, for two reasons. One, I wouldn’t have thought he would have the authority, it’s the manager’s job to do that (albeit with the advice of the pitching coach, of course). And two, even if you decide he’s done, walk back in and tell Ron, and have Ron go get him. Not for the authority thing, but simply because you give your reliever an extra minute to warm up. Okay, he might be warm, and ready to go, in which case I guess you could do it. But how many times do you see a team waste time to get a reliever ready? The catcher walks out to the mound, then back. The pitching coach walks out and back. One of the infielders walks in there and back. Then finally, at the last possible second, the manager steps out to the mound slowly, and pulls the pitcher. I didn’t see when Frankie got up to get warm, but since Padilla gave up three straight singles, and then Frankie came in, he must have gotten up when the inning began, or after the first hit. Just a weird set of circumstances.
Sosa now says he’s going to play next year, whether for the Rangers or someone else. A change of tune from May, when he thought he would be able to play five more years, and he’d love to finish his career with the team that first had him. You have to ask yourself who in their right mind would take him next year. Of course, you asked yourself that last year, too, and see where he ended up then. But is there seriously a team that could use him? He can only be in the AL, because he can’t field much anymore so needs to DH, but he’s not even hitting well enough to do that. He is hitting lefties though (.956 OPS, vs .664 against righties), so he might get a bench spot somewhere. I just can’t see anyone wanting to play him every day. The true contenders won’t, because they don’t have the space to allow a luxury like him. The terrible teams won’t, because they’re all trying to go young. Which leaves the teams in the middle, like the Rangers this year. He’s dead to the Orioles, who’d be a good target for him like they are other washed up expensive players, but of course they already tried him. White Sox? Doubtful, with his whole history in Chicago. Toronto have too much class. Oakland have taken on some cheap old guys lately. I’d put it between them and Tampa, who are a terrible team and supposed to be bringing up young players, but they’re also one of the dumbest teams around, so they might look at him and see a few thousand extra bodies in their empty ballpark. Anyone as long as it’s not us, I guess.
Things are getting so boring around here, the media is actually trying to make a story out of John Danks coming back to Texas this week. Rumors are flying that he’ll be starting Tuesday, or Thursday (according to the White Sox site, so this is probably the one to believe), or he won’t start at all, or maybe he’ll pitch every inning of every game, presumably beating us with three no-hitters in a row. That’s the kind of absurdity you will hear in the next few days. Tonight during one of the game breaks they said “Former Ranger John Danks will pitch Tuesday”. Excuse me? Danks was never a Ranger. He was in the Rangers system, yes, but he never played for the Rangers. Most of the guys on this team will only know him from spring training, and by media reports, and even then not so much. Yes, he was one of the heralded minor leaguers in our system, and yes when we traded him it was a shock, but I for one am very happy with the way things have gone so far with McCarthy. I have nothing against Danks, I know many of the fans wished him well when he left and would like to see him do well, but frankly he’s not part of our team any more so I have little feeling toward him. Danks and McCarthy have both had interesting years, and I’ll try and do a better analysis of the two later in the week.
A day off tomorrow, which is good both for Michael Young’s back and our patience. I have a lot of thoughts I’m trying to get out about Ron Washington, I’m going to try and make a run at it tomorrow and see what happens.