Mariners 9, Rangers 5
- Ugh. That's not how we wanted to end the opening series of the season.
- But let's start with something positive. Colby Lewis gave the Rangers the team's third straight quality start to begin the season. Colby gave up a 2 run home run to Robinson Cano in the first and a solo shot to Leonys Martin in the second, but kept Seattle off the board after that. 6 IP, 3 runs, 3 walks, 4 Ks. Not a great outing, but I'll take 3 runs over 6 innings from Colby every time out.
- Keone Kela came into the game to start the 7th, making his first appearance of the season, and wasn't sharp, leading the bases on a pair of hits, a wild pitch and a walk, and getting pulled with two outs in the 7th for Jake Diekman. Diekman, making his third straight appearance, walked Cano on a 3-2 pitch to force in a run, cutting the Rangers lead at the time to 5-4. Diekman was then pulled (making it his second straight appearance where he faced just one batter), being replaced by Sam Dyson, who escaped the inning with no more damage and then retired the M's in the 8th, setting the stage for Shawn Tolleson.
- Ah, Shawn Tolleson. He was...not good today. For the second straight game, the Rangers had a reliever give up 5 runs without recording an out. Tolleson, asked to pick up the save with no margin for error, went single-single-double-single before Cano launched a two run homer, his fourth of the series, to make it 9-5. Tony Barnette finished things out, but it was moot by that point.
- So yeah, we have two straight games with the bullpen being problematic. The pen was supposed to be the strength of the team this year, and instead, it has imploded the past two days. I don't know that there's really anything to say about it other than, this sort of thing happens. If this occurred in the middle of June, no one would be sweating it, but because it is the first week of the season, we have a certain amount of panic from folks wondering if last season's late in the year pen success was a mirage.
- And you know what? Maybe it was a mirage. Tolleson may not be able to replicate his success, Dyson and Diekman have never sustained the sort of performance they had in August and September, Kela or Faulkner could fall off. We could have Matt Bush or Luke Jackson or Connor Sadzeck up here quickly because of necessity. But hey, that's the nature of bullpens...they tend to be volatile. Its way too early to draw any conclusions about this pen.
- Meanwhile, the bats, once again, were underwhelming. Yeah, there were five runs, three of them coming on a Prince Fielder home run (soon after I said we might have to accept that he's not a power hitter any more), but the Rangers put up just 7 hits and 2 walks off of Wade Miley and three relievers, while striking out 11 times. I am not thinking the Rangers are going to have a great offense -- I tend to think they'll be average to a little above average with the bats. But they need to be better than what we've seen in the first three games.
- But whatever...it is one series in April. Texas goes on the road tomorrow, and has a chance to get back to .500 behind Derek Holland. Let's see the good Dutch Oven.