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Thoughts on a 5-4 Rangers loss

ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 17: A general view of the game between the Oakland Athletics and the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on May 17, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 17: A general view of the game between the Oakland Athletics and the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on May 17, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
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A's 5, Rangers 4

  • Frustrating game, on a lot of levels. It was a game where, in the middle innings, you felt like the Rangers should have been down by a lot more than they were, and that you had the opportunity to steal a game. Then, in the later innings, it felt like a game where the Rangers were blowing opportunities to stretch their lead (or take the lead), and that it could come back and bite them. In the end, they lost a one run game that could have gone either way, that they had multiple chances to win, and those always seem to hurt more.
  • Another bad outing for Matt Harrison, one that is worse than his 5.1 inning, 3 run line would suggest. Harrison was hittable, giving up 8 hits on the game, walking three batters while striking out three, and needing 104 pitches just to get 16 batters out. All three A's runs off of Harrison came in the first inning, but Harrison was in and out of trouble all game, and he now has a 5.21 ERA on the season, and an 8.24 ERA in his last 5 games.
  • The bullpen was okay, giving up 2 runs in 4.2 innings, but okay wasn't good enough today. Alexi Ogando was mortal, giving up a game-tying home run in the 7th to Josh Reddick, and his ERA sky-rocketed to 0.82 on the season. Mike Adams, meanwhile, suffered the death of a thousand cuts, giving up the game-winning run in the 10th inning by allowing three singles while getting just one out, necessitating the entry of Robbie Ross, who got out of the inning with a liner back to the mound that he turned into a double play. Adams didn't pitch poorly -- none of the Rangers relievers did, really -- but he got saddled with his second loss of the year.

  • The Rangers got 18 baserunners in 10 innings today, and scored 4 runs. That's a poor ratio.
  • The decision by Ron Washington to sit Josh Hamilton today against Brandon McCarthy elicited some criticism from some fans, who questioned why Hamilton didn't sit against either yesterday or tomorrow, when lefthanders are starting for the opposition. The flip side of that is that David Murphy would have to start against a lefthander if Hamilton sat, so someone is going to lose the platoon advantage there.
  • Also controversial was the decision to lift Mitch Moreland, who had two home runs and a walk in his first three plate appearances, for pinch hitter Brandon Snyder in the 7th inning when the A's brought in lefty reliever Jordan Norberto. With David Murphy on second base, Snyder flied out to right-center to end the inning. More damaging vis-a-vis Moreland and Snyder was the sequence in the 9th inning...after Michael Young ended up second base due to a Josh Donaldson error, an Adrian Beltre grounder moved him to third. David Murphy was walked intentionally, Nelson Cruz struck out on three pitches, and then Mike Napoli was walked intentionally. Snyder, with the bases loaded and the winning run on third, took a pair of balls, then grounded meekly to first base, ending the inning. Moreland, obviously, would have been preferable in that situation, although with five lefties in the bullpen, it is likely Oakland would have brought a lefty in in that situation.
  • When asked if he regretted the decision to have Snyder hit for Moreland, Ron Washington said no, and then essentially asked the questioner if he'd watched this season and seen what Moreland had done against lefties. While not an unreasonable response, its rather out of character for Washington to be so blunt in addressing a player's shortcomings.
  • The Rangers had a blown call by Laz Diaz to thank for even being able to get the game into extra innings. With the score tied at 3 and runners at first and third in the sixth, the Rangers put on the squeeze play with Elvis Andrus at the plate. Elvis popped the bunt up, and it was caught by A's starter Brandon McCarthy, who would have doubled up Craig Gentry coming home from third. However, Diaz ruled that McCarthy did not catch the bunt on the fly -- a call that replays showed clearly was blown -- and it resulted in Elvis being called safe, Gentry scoring, and Bob Melvin getting ejected.
  • The Rangers blew an opportunity to blow the game open in that inning. With Grant Balfour coming into the game in relief of McCarthy, there was immediately a passed ball that put runners on second and third with one out. Michael Young and Adrian Beltre each grounded out, however, stranding the runners and failing to get home what would have been a critical run.
  • On the slump front...Michael Young, who sat yesterday in the midst of a slump, went 0 for 6 today, dropping his average on the season to .269. Nelson Cruz, who had been showing some signs of getting hot, was 0 for 5.