After four games, the Rangers are tied for first in the A.L. in rotation ERA, at 1.88. Not bad, huh?
Quality outing for Kason Gabbard last night, although Tom Grieve suggested that Gabbard's style is more likely to succeed against a free-swinging team like the Angels. Gabbard has to walk a razor's edge in terms of his control, getting batters to chase those breaking pitches juuuust off the plate, but last night was an example of what Gabbard can do at his best.
Dustin Nippert? Not so good...but then, the Rangers padded their stats late in the game off of the back of the Angel bullpen, so it is only fair to return the favor.
Ron Washington described Gabbard as "aggressive," which isn't an adjective I'd use for Gabbard...he's really almost the opposite, a Kenny Rogers-esque nibbler who is going to try to throw breaking balls on the black part of the plate when down in the count. Evan Grant's game story also says Gabbard's fastball was at 84-86 mph most of the game, for what that's worth.
Grant also has some notes on playing time this weekend, saying that Milton Bradley will play right field on Saturday. Presumably, David Murphy will move to left, and Frank Catalanotto will DH, although Bradley is going to go back to the DH slot on Sunday. Gerald Laird is being given the choice of sitting either Saturday or Sunday, with Adam Melhuse getting his first start of the season one of those days, and Jason Botts may start on Sunday.
Marlon Byrd may be facing a platoon situation, but he's being positive and saying the right things, saying that the Rangers have several outfielders who can hit lefties and righties, and he has to show he can hit righthanders to stay in the lineup every day. He hit RHPs and LHPs equally well last year.