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Thoughts on a 3-1 loss

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June 20, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; A fan of Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yu Darvish (right) wearing a "Minivish" jersey watches Darvish warm-up prior to a start against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE
June 20, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; A fan of Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yu Darvish (right) wearing a "Minivish" jersey watches Darvish warm-up prior to a start against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

Athletics 3, Rangers 1

  • Thus ends a 5 game winning streak. Anaheim won, so the Rangers' lead in the A.L. West is now 5.5 games.
  • Texas is 50-30 on the season, putting them on pace for 101 wins the year. As Anthony Andro noted on Twitter, this is still only time in Rangers history that they have had 50 wins in their first 80 games. Despite the pitching staff injuries, despite the grousing about the offense being inconsistent, the Rangers still have the best record in baseball and have been better in the first half of the season than they ever have been before.
  • Yu Darvish was mostly terrific today, but when he had his rare lapses, the A's made him pay. Oakland plated three runs against Darvish, despite Yu allowing just 5 hits, 3 walks and an HBP in 7 innings. The first run came in the fifth when Seth Smith led off with a double to center, and then Derek Norris followed smacked a hard one-hopper right at Michael Young. Young ole'd it, allowing the ball to get by without getting a glove on it, allowing Smith to score, with Josh Hamilton making a poor and late throw home that allowed Norris to go to second. Darvish then struck out the side, but the damage had been done, with Oakland tying the score at 1.

  • The Norris smash that went past Young was scored as a single, not surprisingly. Later in the game, Ian Kinsler hit a hopper towards third that forced Brandon Inge to extend as far as he could reach to his left to try to field, but which hit off the edge of his glove. That play was scored as an error. I suspect the difference was that Inge got a glove on his ball while Young didn't, but the Inge play seemed more difficult of a play, to me, than the Young play was. It is simply another example of why you shouldn't pay much attention to error totals.
  • The other two runs Yu allowed came in the sixth and seventh, when he suddenly started struggling after being in cruise control all game. The sixth started with a leadoff walk to Coco Crisp, and then after a fielder's choice and a K, Darvish gave up a double, though Jemile Weeks (who replaced Crisp on base due to the fielder's choice) couldn't score on the play. Darvish then appeared, in live action, to hit Smith with a pitch, with the runners advancing but the Rangers seeming to think the play was dead. The home plate umpire, however, indicated that it was a ball, not a HBP, a decision that held up after the umpires all conferred and that was clearly supported by replay (which showed the ball appeared to hit the home plate ump on the foot, and not the batter). Either way, it was an awful pitch from Darvish, who ended up walking Smith before striking out Norris to end the inning.
  • Run number three for the A's came on a 400+ foot homer by Brandon Moss to lead off the 7th inning. While Moss isn't what you'd call a good hitter, he can hit the ball a long way if you make a mistake to him, and that homer was his 8th of the year for Oakland in 69 at bats.
  • Darvish did strike out 11 hitters on the game, matching his season high, and in the first five innings of the game looked as good as he has at any point this season, with the movement on his fastball in particular being rather nasty. The final two innings saw Darvish lose his command, though, with all three of his walks, and two of his five hits allowed, coming in those two innings. Darvish ended the day at 105 pitches, 69 for strikes, and a 3.59 ERA on the season.
  • Robbie Ross pitched the final two innings, faced seven batters, retired six of them, and didn't allow a run. He's now got a 1.03 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP on the season in 43.2 innings. His ERA is a little misleading, as he has allowed 5 unearned runs (if they were included in his ERA, it would double, to 2.06), but regardless, Ross continues to get the ball in tight games, and continues to come up big.
  • The offense did basically nothing against former M's prospect Travis Blackley, who is resurrecting his career with the A's, and who now has a 2.79 ERA on the season. The Rangers picked up a total of 7 hits on the game -- 2 apiece from Elvis Andrus, Nelson Cruz, and Yorvit Torrealba, with Ian Kinsler and Craig Gentry each chipping in with a double apiece. The lone Ranger run came in the third, when Elvis had a two out single that plated Kinsler.
  • The Rangers only had nine baserunners on the game, and three of those nine were cut down on the basepaths. Elvis was thrown out trying to advance to second on the back end of his RBI single that scored Kinsler, and also was picked off by Blackley in the first inning. Blackley also picked off Torrealba in the third.
  • The Rangers didn't draw a single walk tonight.
  • Gentry led off the sixth inning with a ground-rule double, but it was a play that bad luck kept from being at least a triple and potentially an inside-the-park home run. Gentry hit a deep fly to center that went over the head of centerfielder Yoenis Cespedes and ended up bouncing off the wall and then off Cespedes' foot, caroming over the fence. Cespedes clearly had no idea where the ball went after it hit his foot, and initially turned the wrong way. Gentry had rounded second and was on his way to third when the ball went over the fence, and if the ball had stayed in the field of play, he likely had a legitimate shot at an inside-the-parker.
  • Unfortunately, the Rangers were struck by popupitis in the late innings. With Gentry on second in the sixth, Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus both skied balls to shallow right field, leaving Gentry unable to advance. With two outs in the inning, Gentry advanced to third on a passed ball, but Josh Hamilton popped out to shortstop to end the inning. Then in the 8th, after a Yorvit Torrealba leadoff single, David Murphy, pinch hitting for Gentry, popped up to shallow left on a 3-1 pitch. Ian Kinsler then got on on the Inge error, but he and Torrealba were both stranded after Elvis flied out to right field and Hamilton popped up to shortstop. Hamilton's at bat was particularly frustrating, as he got ahead 2-0, then chased two pitches that appeared to be out of the strike zone.
  • The Rangers' 3-4-5 hitters -- Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, and Michael Young -- were a combined 0 for 12 on the night.