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Thoughts on an 11-5 Rangers loss

Orioles 11, Rangers 5

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Orioles 11, Rangers 5

  • The mystifying season of Martin Perez continued tonight, with Perez showing, in the first inning alone, why there's skepticism about him and why there's high hopes for him.  In the top of the first, Perez gave up a leadoff double to Joey Rickard, who advanced to third when Delino DeShields booted the ball in center field.  Manny Machado walked, and then Adam Jones singled, bringing up Chris Davis with two on, no one out, and a run in.  Perez fell behind Davis, and it looked like this might be one of those outings where the wheels come off for Perez, and he can't ever get them back on.
  • But no...Perez battled back and struck out Davis.  And then struck out Mark Trumbo.  And then struck out J.J. Hardy.  After putting himself in a hole, Perez struck out the side, and the one unearned run that came across before a single out was recorded would end up being the only run Perez would end up until the fateful 7th inning.
  • Over the next five innings, Perez was in cruise control, not giving up anything really hard hit, throwing strikes, getting double plays when needed.  Through six innings, Perez was a little under 100 pitches, had a 5-1 lead, and things seemed under control.
  • Then the 7th.  Perez walked Davis to lead off the inning, then, on a fastball down and not quite in enough, Trumbo blasted a bomb to center field, over the wall for a two run home run, chasing Perez from the game and making it a 5-3 game.
  • Perez ended up with a line of 6 IP, 6 hits, 6 Ks, 2 walks, 3 runs (2 earned), and the Trumbo home run allowed.  He recorded a quality start, and gave the Rangers their 12th straight game where the starting pitcher gave up three runs or fewer.  If Perez had been lifted after 6 innings, it would have been credited as a strong outing.  And there were some who questioned why Perez was sent out to start the 7th.  My thought, though, is if you think Perez can be a #2/#3 starter, he should be able to start the 7th approaching 100 pitches in that situation.
  • In any case, Perez was lifted, Tom Wilhelmsen was brought in to protect a 5-3 lead, and everything went to hell.  Wilhelmsen gave up a single to Hardy, and then Jonathan Schoop took him deep, tying the game at 5.  Before we could catch our breath and say, well, its still a tie game, Nolan Reimold followed that up with a home run of his own, making it 6-5.  After retiring the next two batters, Wilhelmsen gave up a double to Manny Machado and a single to Adam Jones, making it 7-5, and leading Jeff Banister to go get Andrew Faulkner.  Faulkner, needing just one out to get out of the inning, walked Chris Davis, then allowed Trumbo to go deep for the second time in the inning, making it a 10-5 blowout.  After getting the final out, Faulkner gave up a home run to Schoop to start the 8th, before retiring the next three batters he faced.  Alex Claudio pitched a scoreless ninth, though by that point, it was too late to matter.
  • Wilhelmsen's disaster outing sent his ERA up to 22.50, while Faulkner's ERA is up to 8.31.  Neither has looked particularly good so far this year.  Faulkner was considered the best pitcher of the spring, but then, Ian Desmond looked great this spring, as well, so its just a reminder that you can't put too much weight on spring performances.
  • The bullpen meltdown overshadows the fact that, other than the 2nd inning, when the Rangers scored 5 runs, the bats were pretty much non-existent today.  And yes, "other than the 5 run inning" is a major caveat, and the Rangers did score five runs tonight, but the overall offensive performance was uninspiring, with Texas picking up just 6 hits and 2 walks.  Three hits and both walks were in the second the other eight innings, Texas had just 3 hits.  That's a problem.
  • For the second time this season, a Ranger runner who appeared to have second base stolen was instead called out due to batter interference.  Today, it was Bryan Holaday who, on a strikeout, was ruled to have interfered with Oriole catcher Caleb Joseph, resulting in Elvis being ruled out instead of getting a stolen base.  I'm not sure I can remember when that last happened before last week, when it was Prince interfering and Shin-Soo Choo being called out.  And now its happened twice already this year.
  • Mitch Moreland had his first home run of the year.  Elvis had a hit and a walk.  That's about it for offensive highlights.
  • Oh well.  At least Adrian Beltre will be a Ranger for a while.