Thoughts on a costly 5-2 loss

Apr 29, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Derek Holland (45) on the bench during the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rangers Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

Rangers 5, Rays 2

  • The story of the game today was Josh Hamilton leaving with what is being described as a "stiff back," which he apparently injured on his RBI single in the third inning. Hamilton stuck it out for another half-inning on defense, then was removed. Although the word on Twitter is that Hamilton expects to play tomorrow, the Rogers Centre in Toronto has artificial turf, which can be rough on the back, and it wouldn't surprise me if he sat for at least a couple of the games north of the border.
  • This is one of those starts that makes Derek Holland frustrating. He looked sharp in the first inning, like he was locked in and ready to throw up one of those great outings that he is capable of, getting a pop up and a pair of strikeouts. Then the wheels came off in the second, as he gave up a triple to Ben Zobrist, a single to Jeff Keppinger, then back to back doubles to B.J. Upton and Luke Scott. That was followed up by three fly outs, all hit well and fairly deep...it was the type of inning that makes you feel you dodged a bullet by allowing just three runs, as Holland's command left him that inning and he was leaving his pitches up in the zone where they could be smacked. Holland ended up going seven and allowing five runs, but once again, he had that one inning where his command wasn't there that ended up tainting the outing.
  • Holland now has a 5.13 ERA. He's the only pitcher on the team with an ERA north of 4.
  • Mark Lowe now has a 1.50 ERA. Lowe has the second-lowest ERA on the team.

  • Rough night for Ian Kinsler, who was 0 for 5 for the game, although his one K was in an at bat where it looked like he drew ball four. He was on his way to first when the home plate umpire Dan Bellino rung him up, and he gave Bellino an earful before Ron Washington came out and took up the cause, ultimately resulting in Wash getting run. Kinsler had a chance to make up for that in the 9th, when he came up with the bases loaded and two outs, down three, as the winning run. After swinging over a pair of pitches, he lined a pitch back up the middle that Fernando Rodney snared for the final out of the game.
  • That 9th inning rally was started by Nelson Cruz with a one out, 0-2 line drive single to right field, followed by Mike Napoli getting hit in the bootyhole with an 0-2 changeup. (Orel Hershiser, I believe, said it hit Napoli in his wallet. If that's where Hershiser thinks wallets are supposed to be stored, don't ever touch his). Mitch Moreland got on when his two out squibber down the third base line couldn't be fielded by Rodney, and although the initial call was an error on Rodney, I wouldn't be surprised if it was changed to a hit.
  • Bellino is in his second full season as a major league umpire. So, as best as I can tell, is Mike Muchlinski, one of the other umpires that is part of this crew. Balkin' Bob Davidson is notorious as one of the worst umpires in the majors, and Hunter Wendlestedt, the fourth member of the crew, isn't considered to be one of the top umps in the game. Suffice it to say this isn't one of MLB's top umpiring crews. I think the calls this weekend reflected that.
  • The Rangers picked up 7 hits, all singles, and 1 walk for the game. You aren't going to win many games with that sort of performance.
  • The lone Ranger to have a multi-hit day was Nelson Cruz. Cruz, who has been slumping for a while, has historically been a streaky hitter, and it would be nice if this was a sign he's about to flip the switch on this current streak. Cruz also had an outstanding throw to nail Ben Zobrist at the plate with two outs in the third after a B.J. Upton single, enabling the Rangers to keep the deficit at 4-1.
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