My initial inclination is to grouse about the team's inability, once again, to get past the .500 mark. This is irritating. I want this team to reel off 5 or 6 in a row and get safely above .500. And it is even more irritating when you think, if the Rangers had just split those 14 games in April, rather than going 2-12, they'd be safety above .500 (and tied for first place, for that matter).
But on the other hand...the Rangers just played .500 ball on their longest road trip of the season, against a middling team playing middling ball, a good team playing middling ball, and a good team that currently has the best record in the A.L. For a team that is in rebuilding mode and isn't supposed to compete this year, you have to feel pretty good about that.
Evan Grant's game story is about Kason Gabbard's mysterious missing command, which is apparently baffling the Rangers' coaching staff as well as all of us. He's apparently telling people he's healthy, but if you recall, his problems date back to this spring, when he was struggling enough that there was a question about whether Luis Mendoza would break camp as the 4th starter (with Gabbard going to AAA until the 5th starter was needed), rather than the other way around.
The problem is that a pitcher like Gabbard constantly walks on the knife's edge...he succeeds based on his ability to take little bites out of the corners, and to get batters to swing at borderline pitches or pitches just out of the strike zone. If he can't hitting the corners, or isn't getting batters to chase those pitches, he's either going to walk a ton of guys, or throw pitches down the middle that get clobbered. He doesn't have real good stuff, so if he doesn't have very good command, he's not a major league pitcher. And the question, at this point, is whether it makes more sense to have him work on his command issues in the major league rotation or in the minors.
I initially was leaning towards bumping Gabbard and letting Doug Mathis take his slot for a few turns, and sending Gabbard down. But the more I think about it, the more I tend to think that it makes more sense to live with Gabbard for a while longer. This is, after all, supposed to be a rebuilding year, and Gabbard is someone you would think has a shot to be a contributing member of the rotation for a few years. It seems like he'd be better served dealing with major league hitters, who have better eyes and are more likely to make him pay for his mistakes, than with minor leaguers, who he is more likely to be able to fool or get away with mediocre command with.
It occurred to me yesterday that the Rangers have sucked in day games this season...but then I figured, well, it is probably my imagination. But no...the Rangers are 5-12 in day games this year.
Anthony Andro says German Duran is being sent down to AAA, presumably to make room on the roster for Travis Metcalf. I'm not a Metcalf believer -- I don't think he's going to hit well enough to be a major league regular -- but as a platoon 3B, I'd rather have him up than Duran. Duran is younger and has a brighter future, and I'd like to see him get regular reps in AAA, rather than sitting on the bench playing once or twice a week in the majors.
Kevin Millwood is also going to be activated, and either Mathis, Kam Loe, or Josh Rupe will have to be sent down to make room for him. Mathis would seem to be the obvious choice, but the team seems to have really taken a shine to him, and it would surprise me to see him stick in the bullpen in a middle or long-man role (which is probably what he projects as long-term).
And Randy Galloway likes Josh Hamilton. And David Murphy.