As someone who has been cautiously optimistic about Luis Mendoza's ability to contribute to the Rangers, I was pretty disappointed in yesterday's outing. That was an absolute disaster, with Mendoza simply having zero command of his pitches, and he would have been shelled if he'd pitched like that in Oklahoma or Frisco, much less Texas.
I do think, though, that bumping Mendoza from the rotation in favor of Dustin Nippert (who was outstanding yesterday, and showed why the Rangers wanted him in the organization) or Matt Harrison is premature. Simply put, if you are trying to rebuild and figure out what you've got with your young pitching, you don't boot a guy from the rotation after two rough starts.
No question, if he pitches like he did yesterday, he's not a major leaguer. If he commands his pitches -- particularly his fastball and slider -- like he did in his last few outings out of the bullpen, though, he can be a quality major league starter. I think it is worth taking a little more time to see how he bounces back and to see if he can fix his command issues.
Richard Durrett says the Rangers felt they showed resiliance in coming back and making a game out of it, after being down 8 early. He also says Milton Bradley yelled from the dugout at Jeff Mathis after that big 8th inning collision between Mathis and Max Ramirez. I still think the way Mathis came in was borderline dirty, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him knocked down at some point in this series.
Matt Harrison starts today, although it is still up in the air what roster move will be made to make room for him. Meanwhile, the Rangers still don't know who will pitch tomorrow, although it apparently won't be Vicente Padilla.
Jeff Wilson has some updates on some injured guys...Hank Blalock hit in the cage and expects to go on a rehab assignment over the All Star Break, Gerald Laird hit in the cage for the first time since suffering the hamstring injury, and Thomas Diamond got a cortisone shot in his foot, which will allow him to delay surgery on the bone spur in his foot until after the season.
Wilson also mentions that Jon Daniels is having "very cordial" talks with Dustin Bledsoe, who advises Justin Smoak and Robbie Ross, and expects that they'll work something out with those guys.
And Jean-Jacques Taylor says the Rangers did the right thing in keeping Ron Washington around.