June 9, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yu Darvish (11) smiles in the dugout before the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
- There's been a bit of a Groundhog Day vibe about losses over the past six weeks. Today was a game it seems like we've seen over and over again as of late. The offense has some opportunities, doesn't capitalize. The defense makes some dumb mistakes. The pitching is good, but doesn't slam the door. An umpire blows a call. Some hard hit balls don't fall in. And the Rangers end up losing a game that we as fans come away from, frustrated, angry, because it seems like a game that Texas should have won, but didn't.
- I spent the offseason saying that Scott Feldman was good enough to be in a major league rotation, that he was a serviceable back-of-the-rotation starter on a good team. When Neftali Feliz went down, I felt signing Roy Oswalt was unnecessary, because I felt Feldman could hold down the fort until Feliz returned. And Feldman couldn't go five innings, and got worse every start, until after his last outing, when he couldn't get through 2 innings against the A's, I threw in the towel on him, admitted my mistake, and said, send him back to the pen. So of course, today, Feldman pitched terrific ball, going 5.1 innings, striking out 7 and walking 1. He was dinged with three runs, two of them earned, but Feldman was the victim of bad defense with Ian Kinsler blowing a potential double play ball to allow one run to score, and Josh Hamilton losing a pop fly in the sun to allow a runner who also came around to score. This version of Scott Feldman was the guy who won 17 games and put up a 4.07 ERA in 2009, and if Feldman pitches like this, he's one of the team's five best starters.
- The relievers were uncharacteristically bad today. Robbie Ross faced three hitters after coming into the game in the sixth with a runner on first and one out, and allowed a deep fly out, a ridiculous wild pitch that was as awful a pitch as you'll ever see, a Nate Schierholtz triple that was almost a home run, and a line drive to shortstop. It was as hard as he's been hit all season. Koji Uehara, meanwhile, gave up a pair of runs on four hits in an inning's worth of work, raising his ERA to 2.11, and also got dinged with an error when Michael Young couldn't catch a pickoff throw. Tanner Scheppers got out of the eighth unscathed despite allowing a leadoff ground-rule double. Ross and Scheppers should probably both be available to pitch in relief tomorrow, a game where the Rangers will likely need at least four innings from the bullpen with Alexi Ogando starting.
- Ian Kinsler had a mental error of the sort that seemed to occur frequently his first few years in the league, but have been largely absent in recent years. With Ryan Vogelsong at third base, Gregor Blanco at first base, and one out in the bottom of the third, Ryan Theriot hit a grounder up the middle with Blanco going on the pitch. Kinsler, moving to cover at the bag, fielded the ball, and went to tag Blanco. Blanco stopped and retreated towards first. Rather than either tagging second base or the runner, Kinsler inexplicably chose to throw to first base, and threw wildly, meaning the runner scored and no out was recorded. Its debateable whether Kinsler had time to touch second base and then throw to first for a double play, which is the only way the runner wouldn't have scored, but it was brain-dead baseball nonetheless.
- Before the game, I questioned the decision to have Michael Young, who has been awful against RHPs this season (.241/.272/.331 coming into today) and who is a poor defender at first base, start against the righty Ryan Vogelsong instead of Mitch Moreland, who is a stronger defender and a .296/.354/.530 hitter against righties this season. Young made a good diving stop early in the game, but also failed to catch a Uehara pickoff throw that resulted in an error, and was 0 for 4 at the plate. Mitch Moreland had a pinch hit homer in the 8th inning to cut the lead to 5-1.
- David Murphy replaced Nelson Cruz late in the game because of an Achilles tendon problem that knocked Cruz out of the game. As a result, Murphy was unable to pinch hit in the pitcher's spot with two outs and a runner on in the 9th. Brandon Snyder came up instead, and had one of the worst at bats you'll see from a non-pitcher, striking out swinging and ending the game.
- I'm guessing Cruz's Achilles tendon issue will result in him sitting tomorrow, which is probably a good thing. Cruz is leading the team in games played and is continuing to struggle at the plate. Letting Murphy -- who has sat the past two games -- start in the outfield along with Josh Hamilton and Craig Gentry tomorrow wouldn't be a bad thing.
- The Rangers have scored a whopping 10 runs, total, in the 5 games Scott Feldman has started.
- Before you get too worked up over the Rangers' recent poor stretch, they also went 22-27 over a 49 game stretch from mid-April to mid-June last year. They went on to win 96 games and come one pitch away from winning the World Series. Don't panic.