That was a winnable game last night, against the team the Rangers are up against in the fight for home field advantage in the first round. And like a lot of winnable games that have turned into losses this year, this game featured an anemic offensive performance and questionable decisions that cost the Rangers on the scoreboard.
Julio Borbon's decision to throw to third base, missing the cutoff man, when he had no chance of getting Orlando Hudson, probably cost the Rangers a run, as the throw allowed Joe Mauer to advance to second base. Thus, Michael Cuddyer's grounder, which otherwise likely would have been an inning-ending double play, became a run scoring groundout.
Alexi Ogando was up 0-2 with two on and one out, but rather than putting his batter away, he left a slider up and over the plate, allowing a run scoring single.
And then there was Alex Cora getting gunned down at third in the ninth inning. The decision to try to advance was understandable, down one with one out in the 9th, but a great throw by Jason Repko turned Cora into the second out.
Of course, the Rangers wouldn't have been in that situation in the first place if the offense had done a better job against what was largely a collection of AAA pitchers. With the Twins having burned through their bullpen the night before and having to rely on a AAA callup to start yesterday's game, the offense could not capitalize.
Just disappointing all around. Well, almost all around...Derek Holland's performance was solid, despite being tagged with 4 runs allowed.
Jeff Wilson's game story talks about how last night's game highlights how the team is missing Frank Francisco, who Wilson suggests would have pitched in the 7th had he been healthy.
T.R. Sullivan's game story focuses on the key 9th inning play by Cora, who was thrown out trying to advance from first to third on Julio Borbon's single to right field. Michael Young is quoted as saying that Cora made the right decision, and just was thrown out on a perfect throw.
Evan Grant runs down the small things that led to the Rangers 4-3 loss last night, and suggests that last night's experience with Cora, a decent baserunner but not a burner, could lead to the Rangers accelerating the timetable for bringing up Willy Taveras.
Richard Durrett has some postgame quotes and thoughts, with Alex Cora saying you have to "tip your cap" to Jason Repko for a good throw. Cap tipping seems to be sweeping the organization.
Durrett also writes that Chuck Greenberg is on the road with the team, wanting to see some other parks around the league and how the handle various aspects of the fan experience.
Grant says that winning the West isn't enough for the 2010 Texas Rangers -- they need to win a playoff series, as well.
Wilson has injury updates on Cliff Lee and Josh Hamilton (who left last night's game with back stiffness) in his notes.
Sullivan's notes includes info on Clay Rapada, Michael Kirkman's future as a starter, and the signing of Mark Prior to a minor league deal.
Prior, of course, is 8 years removed from dominance, and is being signed to provide some depth for Oklahoma. He's not the guy who was the #2 overall pick in the draft. He's about as likely to ultimately have an impact on the major league club as any other random minor league free agent. Don't waste time and energy talking about how great it would be if he regained his form with the Rangers. It isn't going to happen.
And finally, Darren O'Day is apparently a trend-setter in the Ranger clubhouse, having started an iPad craze among the players.