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Monday a.m. Rangers things

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What is particularly annoying about being two games under .500 is that you can sit here and say, if we had just won this game, or this one, we'd be at .500.  Just one loss that could have been a win.  And .500 feels a whole lot different than 2 games under.

Anyway...Anthony Andro writes that Colby Lewis bailed out the Rangers and a beleaguered pen by battling back and righting the ship after getting lit up early in the game.  And Evan Grant has his post-game comments up at the DMN blog, also focusing on Lewis.

It is interesting...with Lewis, we thought we were getting a strike-thrower, a low-K, low-BB guy who would eat a lot of innings.  What we've gotten so far is a guy putting up Nolan Ryan-esque numbers, striking out over 10 per 9 while walking almost 5 per 9.  I don't expect it to continue, but this particular development is one of the more interesting stories of April.

Ron Washington says the starters have to start working deeper into games. 

Grant has a story up about the adjustments the team is having to make and the adversity the team has been dealing with lately, the latest being a death in Jackie Moore's family.

Rich Harden has been the biggest culprit so far, in terms of not giving the Rangers the innings they need, and Gil LeBreton says that he's been the biggest mystery of the season thusfar, although the Rangers are willing for now to let him work through his problems.  LeBreton says Harden should get a lot of rope:

As the Rangers struggle to balance the scales after a six-game losing streak, though, how patient can they afford to be with Harden as he tries to relocate the strike zone?

Derek Holland and Brandon McCarthy have pitched well for Triple A Oklahoma City. When alternatives are available, Daniels has not hesitated this season to use them.

Harden again echoed Sunday what he's been saying for most of the spring -- he's healthy and he's not pitching in fear of another injury.

The mystery, therefore, continues. How patient can the Rangers afford to be with Harden?

Longer than one would think, if you ask me. The Rangers said they checked out Harden's medical status thoroughly before offering him a contract for $7.5 million guaranteed and a possible $11.5 million in 2011.

Once again, high risk for a high reward.

* * *

My point is, Harden's recent track record doesn't suggest that he will suddenly exhibit pinpoint control.

He needs to find a way to get opposing batters to start swinging earlier in the count. He needs to start seeing a few more sixth innings.

And the Rangers, despite the way that Holland and McCarthy are pitching in Triple A, need to chill their heels and wait.

Wait, because Harden could be worth it.

Scott McCoy has a story that looks at highly regarded pitching prospects that broke in through the pen, and suggests that "experimenting" with prospects in the bullpen is a risky proposition.  The problem is, all pitching prospects are inherently risky...the fact that Joba Chamberlain and Brandon McCarthy had mixed results as a starter after breaking in in the bullpen isn't necessarily suggestive that going that route is a problem.

In injury news, Ian Kinsler is starting a rehab stint todayJarrod Saltalamacchia is still rehabbing, and the Rangers say he won't be coming back until he's used to the new pre-game stretching regimen that he's been given. 

And despite his recent struggles, Taylor Teagarden still has Ron Washington's confidence.