Disappointing loss for the Rangers last night. Edinson Volquez again showed why the Rangers like his stuff, and why he's not quite there yet. I would have rather seen him get a chance to work out of the jam he got himself into, but Wakamatsu (I guess) was still managing as if the Rangers are playoff contenders, prompting the decision to go get Benoit.
Gil LeBreton defends Vicente Padilla for throwing at the Angels, and takes others to task for not supporting Padilla:
We don't know exactly what was on Padilla's mind, because he doesn't speak to the media. But his actions, to me, spoke volumes.
Vladimir Guerrero had been tilting the scales -- yanking them, actually -- against the Rangers, and Padilla took it upon himself to deliver a message by whistling one under that goat-beard of Guerrero's. By the fourth inning Tuesday, the Angels were spanking the Rangers again, and Padilla decided to punctuate his earlier reaction.
To me, that's neither cowardice nor stupidity. That's hardball.
And it was about time that the Rangers started playing it.
Bob Feller liked to pitch inside. Don Drysdale and Bob Gibson had reputations for keeping hitters "loose," too.
And, if I may dare, allow me to use the ultimate hardball example: Nolan Ryan, former Ranger. Nolan liked to, every now and then, throw a pitch or two or three inside.
The Rangers put a statue of Ryan in center field. And Vicente Padilla gets thrown under the proverbial bus?
Shame on every Ranger who called Padilla stupid or self-centered.
Even if someone in the Rangers clubhouse thought that, he should have kept it to himself or told Padilla privately, instead of crying it to the media.
Everyone is accountable. Everyone.
Catcher Rod Barajas said he was "disappointed" with Padilla. How disappointing was it two weeks ago to hear Barajas, batting .250 or thereabouts, whine about losing some of his playing time?
It's called hardball, and maybe, after the scuffle Wednesday, the Rangers may finally be ready to play some.
Meanwhile, in Jan Hubbard's notes, Jon Daniels still doesn't sound real happy about what Padilla did, or about having to lose Padilla to suspension.
I tend to agree with Daniels, rather than LeBreton, here. And I heard something similar to LeBreton's take from Keith Olberman yesterday, on the Dan Patrick show. Olberman said, in a nutshell, that there are so many fights nowadays because hitters can't handle getting pitched inside, whereas up through the 70s, if a pitcher gave up a home run, it was automatic that the next batter was getting knocked down, it was expected and nobody minded and nobody charged the mound because of it.
I kept expecting Olberman to say, "That's the way it was, and we LIKED it!!!"
But regardless, Olberman, who I normally like, is full of crap here. First of all, I've seen nothing that suggests that there are more fights nowadays than there were in the old days. If anything, it seems like there are less, despite all the clamoring about how hitters are too sensitive and pitchers can throw inside with impunity because of the DH rule.
And secondly, to claim that until sometime in the 70s, every batter who came up after someone homered got knocked down automatically is simply hogwash, old-fogeyism at its most ridiculous. Watch any old game on ESPN Classic, and you'll see that isn't the case.
I'm not one of those who says you never pitch inside or send a purpose pitch. I have no problem with what Scott Feldman did. But to throw at a guy because you can't do your job -- like Padilla did when he got ejected -- is pretty chickensalad. And I'm disappointed that LeBreton would be celebrating it as being "old school" baseball.
In other brawl news, the Angels are mad that Adam Eaton wasn't suspended, since they claim he started the whole thing by throwing at Juan Rivera last week. And while Buck & Co. have basically been mum about the suspension, Mike Scioscia is mad at MLB, saying that the Angels are being unfairly punished.
Bill Plaschke takes the anti-LeBreton view, and says that MLB needs to put a stop to "The Code" once and for all.
Meanwhile, Ozzie and the ChiSox are saying, told you so...
Richard Durrett says that TBA is pitching both games this weekend for the Rangers...John Koronka is apparently going to start one day (although which one is up in the air), with either Robinson Tejeda or John Rheinecker pitching the other. I want to see Tejeda, personally.
And if you haven't yet, check out Mike Hindman's piece today on the Rangers' revenues and payroll, which is a follow-up to yesterday's piece. I haven't had a chance to really digest it yet, but there's a lot of good research and info in there, and I'd encourage folks to check it out.