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Thoughts on a 6-2 Rangers loss

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A’s 6, Rangers 2

Texas Rangers v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

A’s 6, Rangers 2

  • That was an unpleasant game.
  • While the score was “just” 6-2, this felt like a much worse loss, due, I think, to the degree to which the team appeared incompetent in so many areas.
  • Doug Fister started and had a rough outing, struggling with his command from the outset and allowing 5 runs in 3.2 IP. Like Cole Hamels the night before, Fister had a respectable strikeout total — he fanned 5 in his short stint. But he allowed 7 hits, 2 walks, and hit a batter, which is an unacceptable rate when facing just 21 hitters.
  • Fister also didn’t get help from his defense, a point that was emphasized by those who wished to come to his (no pun intended) defense for his effort. Nomar Mazara had an awful night in the field just trying to catch the ball, and the disastrous fourth inning, that saw 4 runs come across the plate and that chased Fister, was fueled in part due to a poor throw home by Joey Gallo on a Boog Powell bases loaded grounder, which resulted in Robinson Chirinos needing to tag the runner coming home instead of just standing on the plate for a force out, and which resulted in Chirinos dropping the ball and all hands being safe. Three runs in that inning were unearned as a result.
  • I got into a few disagreements with folks on Twitter about the overall quality of the team’s defense this year. This isn’t a good defensive team, but I don’t think, as some have suggested, is a disastrously bad defensive team, either. The Rangers were 18th in DRS in 2017 and 22nd in UZR, and I suspect that that’s the general vicinity they’ll end up in in 2018.
  • In any case, the Rangers used the two primary candidates who are at risk of losing their roster spot in relief of Fister last night. Jesse Chavez went 2.1 IP, allowing 2 walks and 2 hits while striking out 3, but got pulled for Jose Leclerc with none out in the 7th, the bases loaded and no one in. Leclerc got out of the inning and ended up pitching 2 shutout innings yesterday.
  • Leclerc is probably getting optioned today to make room for Martin Perez on the 25 man roster. On performance and merit, he doesn’t deserve to be sent down, but from the standpoint of maximizing flexibility and keeping as much depth as possible, he makes more sense than Chavez, since you can send Leclerc to the minors and not risk losing him. That said, Tony Barnette is due back soon, and Tim Lincecum is supposed to be ready by the start of May, so Chavez may not be long for the Rangers’ major league roster anyway unless someone gets hurt.
  • The offense was a disaster yesterday, and that’s really been the story of the season. For as much talk as there’s been about the defense and the pitching, the offense has failed to perform, and is the biggest reason the team is currently 2-5. Texas generated 4 hits, 1 walk and 1 HBP yesterday against Sean Manaea, and that’s not going to get it done.
  • Two of the hits yesterday were from Nomar Mazara, who is now slashing .333/.407/.500. One hit was from Elvis, who has been the team’s best player early on, and Shin-Soo Choo had a home run and an HBP.
  • The bottom of the order was once again a disaster for Texas, going 0 for 11 with 1 walk (by Robinson Chirinos) and 1 RBI (a fielder’s choice by Ryan Rua). The Rangers are getting nothing from second base, catcher, and two outfield spots in the first week of play, and so long as that’s the case, they aren’t going to score many runs or win many games.
  • Anyway. Let’s cross our fingers and hope for a split in the finale Thursday.