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Thoughts on a 7-6 loss

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August 5, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Texas Rangers batter Adrian Beltre (29) doubles against the Kansas City Royals during the second inning at Kauffman Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE
August 5, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Texas Rangers batter Adrian Beltre (29) doubles against the Kansas City Royals during the second inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE

Royals 7, Rangers 6

  • First, the good news...the Angels lost. And the A's lost. So the Rangers remain 5.5 games up on the A's in the West, 6 games up on the Angels.
  • Another frustrating outing from Derek Holland, who gave up 6 runs in 6 innings. He struck out 7 and walked just 2, but the long-ball was once again his nemesis, as he gave up a pair of bombs, a two run shot by Brayan Pena (just his second homer of the season) and a solo homer by Jeff Francoeur. Holland now has a 5.18 ERA on the season, and it seems like its the same story again and again with him lately...he threw the ball well except for a couple of pitches.
  • The Roy Oswalt situation is getting stranger. Oswalt came into the game and pitched a perfect 7th and 8th inning, striking out four and needing just 30 pitches to retire six batters. However, Ron Washington said after the game that Oswalt said he couldn't pitch any more, and that for any more information, the reporters would have to ask Oswalt about it -- thought Oswalt, apparently, wasn't available for comment after the game. Evan Grant writes in the piece linked above that Oswalt and his agent have both made it clear to the team he doesn't want to pitch in relief, and T.R. Sullivan has a story up at the Rangers' website that questions whether Oswalt will pitch in relief for the Rangers again, calling the situation "murky" and that Jon Daniels "may have to resolve the issue."

  • It took three batters in the bottom of the 10th for the Royals to score the winning run, popping Michael Kirkman with the loss while not even getting credit for pitching any innings today. Eric Hosmer led off with a walk, but then Salvador Perez grounded a ball to shortstop Alberto Gonzalez (who had entered the game for Elvis Andrus) that should have been a routine double play. Gonzalez booted it, though, putting two on and none out. Jeff Francoeur then hit a slow hopper down the third base line that Mike Olt charged, fielded, and then threw past second baseman Michael Young and into right field. It was a tough inning for Olt, who struck out in the top of the 10th with the bases loaded and two outs, and it appeared that he was rushing, trying to turn the double play. It was one of those plays where, as it was developing, I was a little tenser than usual...those are the types of plays, with the infielder coming in and having to throw across his body, where you more often see throwing errors. That's what happened here, and it cost the Rangers the game.
  • Of course, at the same time, the offense not cashing in on opportunities also cost the Rangers the game. As I noted above, Mike Olt struck out with the bases loaded and 2 outs in the top of the 10th, in what was a frustrating inning for the offense. Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz had back-to-back singles to start the 10th, then after a David Murphy pop-up, Mike Napoli walked. Mitch Moreland then hit a line drive that was snared by Alcides Escobar, turning what off the bat looked like an RBI single into out number two. Olt then battled reliever Greg Holland, running the count 3-2 before striking out swinging on a high fastball.
  • Even more vexing, though, was the costly decision by Ron Washington top try a suicide squeeze in the top of the 9th inning with Mike Olt on third base, Elvis Andrus batting, and no one out. With Olt, who walked to lead off the inning, on first base, Elvis swung and missed on a hit and run play...Olt would have been easily out at second, except the throw was terrible, sailing into center field, and Olt was able to advance to third. Wash then put on the suicide squeeze with a 2-1 count, presumably thinking that Holland would challenge Andrus with a fastball. Instead, Holland threw a breaking ball that bounced in front of the plate and was well outside. Andrus could do nothing with that pitch (despite Wash suggesting afterwards that Elvis didn't do enough to get the ball down) and Olt was tagged out at the plate, killing the rally.
  • I could understand the decision to have Andrus bunt if there was an out, or if you had the bottom of the lineup coming up. But there were no outs and the top of the order due. By putting on the squeeze, what Wash was saying was that he didn't trust Andrus, Michael Young, or Josh Hamilton to get the runner home from third otherwise. And that seems to speak volumes about Wash's confidence level in that trio right now.
  • Elvis was lifted from the game in the bottom of the 9th with a sore right shoulder, although indications after the game are that it isn't serious, and he's day-to-day.