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Thoughts on an 11-10 loss

M's 11, Rangers 10

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

M's 11, Rangers 10

  • Ugh.
  • That game really hurt.
  • In the later innings, I was mentally skipping ahead to the games in Arizona and Anaheim, wondering whether Texas could get back to .500 when they play the Astros the following week, calculating how the division stacked up.  I think that's what makes a loss like this feel especially painful...I'd already emotionally claimed the win, only to have it ripped away.
  • Starting with the pitching...Ross Detwiler was awful, again.  He allowed a pair of homers in the first inning, and then, after being given a five run lead when the Rangers scored 7 in the top of the third, he went out and walked the first batter he faced.  The bottom of the third went walk, F8, single, HR, single, single, and then Detwiler was pulled for Anthony Bass.  Detwiler has now had three starts, and he has been bad in all three.
  • Of course, this leads one to wonder...who thought putting Ross Detwiler in the Ranger rotation was a good idea in the first place?  Detwiler, the #6 overall pick in the 2007 draft, had some success at various times in the Nationals' rotation, but couldn't hold onto a rotation spot, and pitched solely in relief in 2014.  The Rangers gave up Chris Bostick and Abel de los Santos for the right to pay Detwiler $3.45M this year and put his name in ink in the rotation.  Now, maybe if Yu Darvish doesn't get hurt early in camp, Nick Martinez beats out Detwiler and he's bumped to the bullpen to start the year.  I don't know.  But heading into spring training, they were adamant that Detwiler would be given the chance to start.  That decision, at this point, looks awful.
  • Anthony Bass came in with the go-ahead run at the plate and one out in the third and not only got out of the jam, but pitched shutout ball through the sixth.  Bass is this year's Scott Baker, a journeyman arm just being asked to do whatever needs to be done...but at this point, I'm wondering if he shouldn't be in the rotation the next couple of times around.  The Rangers can use Nick Martinez, Yovani Gallardo and Colby Lewis for the next three starts -- Tuesday and Wednesday in Arizona, and Friday at Anaheim -- but another starter will be needed on Saturday.  Jeff Banister said after the game that the plan was for Detwiler to stay in the rotation, so I guess that he'll get the ball against the Angels...but if there weren't already an empty spot in the rotation to fill, I'd suggest flip-flopping Detwiler and Bass, making Bass a starter for now and Detwiler a lefty relief arm.
  • Of course, there is still an empty hole in the #5 starter spot.  Anthony Ranaudo, I guess, could get called up again for a start.  Wandy Rodriguez could be brought up for a start, although that would mean clearing a 40 man roster spot.  Chi Chi Gonzalez is the chic chic pick here, but it sounds like the Rangers want to see him have a run of success in AAA before calling him up.  So who knows, maybe Bass and Detwiler both are in the rotation for a couple of weeks.
  • Moving on...Shawn Tolleson came into the game, fanned a pair, gave up a run.  It didn't seem like a big deal at the time.  Little did we know.
  • Tanner Scheppers, activated from the disabled list on Friday, was brought in to pitch the 8th with a 4 run lead, and it was a disaster.  Scheppers command was absent, as he faced four batters, threw only six strikes, and was pulled after walking the bases loaded.  Keone Kela was asked to retire Robinson Cano, and he walked Cano on a 3-2 pitch.
  • At that point, my feeling was, leave Kela in the game to face Nelson Cruz, who was coming up next as the go-ahead run.  But Jeff Banister decided that there was no point in saving his closer when there was such a critical situation, and brought Neftali Feliz in, needing five outs for a save.  Normally, I'd say that's a great move...but at this stage, I'm not confident Feliz is better than Kela.
  • Feliz struck out Cruz swinging, then needed to retire Kyle Seager to escape the inning with a 3 run lead.  Alas, Seager singled home a pair of runners, cutting it to 10-9.  A Dustin Ackley flyout ended the inning, but I have to say, I wasn't feeling real confident at that point.
  • The ninth was anti-climatic, really.  Single-F8-walk, followed by Austin Jackson singling home the tying run.  Rickie Weeks flew out, Robinson Cano was intentionally walked to load the bases with two outs, and on his 47th pitch of the game, Feliz gave up an RBI walk-off single to Cruz, ending the game.
  • You can definitely question the bullpen management today.  You can argue that Detwiler, who had not been sharp all game, shouldn't have been allowed to face Nelson Cruz in the 3rd.  Of course, Detwiler had a 7-2 lead (promptly cut to 7-5 by the Cruz homer, of course), and I don't know if many managers would pull their starter for Anthony Bass that early.  You can also argue that Banister should have had a quicker hook with the struggling Scheppers.  The one thing I take issue, though, was leaving Kela in to face just one batter.  I'd liked to have seen him get to face Cruz and Seager in the 8th.
  • On the one hand, Feliz was throwing 95-97 mph today, which we haven't see since pre-TJS.  On the other hand, Feliz had just 3 swinging strikes in 47 pitches.  That's not closer material.
  • The bats were good, at least.  Every starter except Rougned Odor had a hit, and Jake Smolinski hit his first homer of the season, part of a 2 for 4 effort.  Leonys Martin went 3 for 6.  Prince Fielder had a couple of hits.
  • Really, the team scored 10 runs.  Its hard to complain about the offense in that situation.
  • Sigh.  13 games down, 149 to go.  Most of them will feel better than this one did.