A couple of pieces of good news from yesterday. The Rangers lost because their offense was shut down by a dominant pitcher, not because of bad defense or bad baserunning or awful pitching. And everyone else in the A.L. West lost as well, so the Rangers didn't lose any ground on anyone.
Evan Grant's game story is about the dominance of Zack Greinke, who silenced the Ranger bats. We can point to Blalock and Salty's leadoff XBHs as missed opportunities -- and no question, they were -- but Greinke was simply out of this world yesterday.
Jeff Wilson notes that Kevin Millwood was great again, but was left with the loss anyway.
Of course, the Derek Holland situation overshadows all else right now. The Rangers say they expect Holland to be up permanently, that he won't be sent back down unless his performance is such that a demotion is necessary.
Jim Reeves likes the decision to bring up Holland and have him start out in the pen, and goes so far as to absolve the front office for the bullpen situation:
As much as I might like to jump right in the middle of Tom Hicks for not spending the money to upgrade the Rangers’ bullpen this off-season, I have to resist the temptation.
Money probably wasn’t going to solve the problem and sinking it into relief pitchers is a risky proposition at best. They often tend to go in cycles, on one year, off the next.
Would free agent right-hander Juan Cruz have helped this Rangers’ bullpen? How could he not have? But that’s the classic second-guess, though Cruz was hanging out there until late February, when Kansas City finally signed him to a two-year, $6 million deal. And that was in a depressed market.
But if free agency wasn’t necessarily the answer, what about a trade for a veteran bullpen presence once the Rangers realized that Joaquin Benoit wasn’t going to be available in 2009?
It’s a reasonable question, and the Rangers began pursuing that possibility once Benoit, who tried rehabilitation in hopes of being able to pitch this summer, finally gave up and had surgery in late January.
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The Rangers tried to avoid this situation by doing what they’ve done in the past and what many teams try to do: catch a little lightning with a veteran coming off injury (Brendan Donnelly) or a former closer who’s trying to find it again (Derrick Turnbow).
Nothing wrong with that. It even works from time to time. But when those two long shots became failed bits this spring, the Rangers were essentially out of luck, especially when both Willie Eyre and Dustin Nippert had to open the season on the disabled list.
Even I don't give them a pass on the Cruz move...I wonder if Reeves talked to Nolan about the bullpen situation right before writing this.
Jeff Miller has an entertaining article on Holland's call-up, that includes a few items about what Holland is having to learn about being in the majors, and some quotes from Elvis Andrus about what it is like playing behind Holland.
Richard Durrett has a couple of items on the struggles of Chris Davis and Josh Hamilton, with Davis calling his performance "pathetic" and Hamilton apparently going back to the toe-tap he was using last season in an effort to get going.
Anthony Andro notes that while Elvis Andrus's glove is what got him to the big leagues, he has impressed with the bat so far this season as well.