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Thoughts on a 4-1 Rangers loss

Rockies 4, Rangers 1

Colrado Rockies v Texas Rangers Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Rockies 4, Rangers 1

  • That was not a fun game.
  • Martin Perez had his Ranger return last night, and it was like he had never left. He looked really good for the first two innings. In the third, he gave up a single, then walked Connor Joe after having his 2-2 borderline pitch called a ball rather than a strike, prompting Perez to react unhappily on the mount, then allowed a single and a double before hitting C.J. Cron on an 0-2 pitch to load the bases and set the stage for a huge Rockies inning. And then he got a GIDP to get out of the inning. Then in the fourth he allowed a one out single, hit Jose Iglesias, and then generated another GIDP to get out of the inning. In the fifth he allowed a double and an infield single before being pulled for Greg Holland, who managed to allow just one of the inherited runners to score.
  • It was the Martin Perez Experience I think we all remember.
  • The Rangers got an inning apiece of relief work from Greg Holland, Kolby Allard, Spencer Patton, Josh Sborz and John King, with only Patton allowing a run. It was the first appearance of the season for Allard, who was kept on the roster in a long relief role, and who could be headed back to Round Rock when Garrett Richards is activated tomorrow (assuming he is activated). Or Patton could be sent down. Or someone else.
  • I’ve seen some criticism of Chris Woodward’s handling of the pitching staff and the bullpen in the first two series, and in particular, Woodward’s tight leash on the starting pitchers. Perez only threw 68 pitches. The night before, Taylor Hearn only threw 76 pitches. In Toronto, Jon Gray, Dane Dunning and Spencer Howard threw 70, 74 and 49, pitches, respectively. Woodward is using too quick a hook, the argument goes, particularly with the current state of the bullpen.
  • Its worth remembering, though, that there was a shortened spring training, which means that starting pitchers didn’t build up like they normally do. That’s going to result in lower pitch counts the first outing or two for starters. Gray, of course, was pulled because of a blister that landed him on the injured list (something that could also be attributable to the shortened spring). Howard simply wasn’t effective. Howard and Hearn didn’t have full starter’s loads in 2021, and 2020 was shortened for everyone. That’s going to result in them not being allowed to work as deep into games, especially at the start of the season.
  • Similarly, Chris Woodward has indicated a desire to avoid using relievers on back-to-back days, if possible. He used Joe Barlow both Sunday and Monday, and went to both Spencer Patton and Greg Holland in Tuesday’s game after they each pitched Monday (though Patton only threw three pitches on Monday). That restriction will be eased as we get into the season, and we should see more “normal” usage of relievers than we are seeing right now.
  • The bullpen will also likely look quite different in a few months. Garrett Richards is coming off the injured list, most likely on Thursday. Nick Snyder had Tommy John surgery in 2020 and was shut down with shoulder fatigue at the end of 2021, and the Rangers have him in AAA so they can keep him on a set schedule early on and better monitor his workload, but he will likely be up at some point this summer. Daniel Robert is on the radar, while Glenn Otto and A.J. Alexy could get a look in the pen if they aren’t needed as rotation reinforcements. And Jose Leclerc and Jonathan Hernandez should be back in June or early July.
  • I’ve talked a lot about the pitching in this post, in no small part because I’m wanting to ignore the offense, which did very little against the Rockies. One lousy run, on just four hits, all singles. Texas did draw five walks, which is good, and struck out just six times, consistent with the team’s goal of reducing Ks, but still...
  • What we all thought was a fifth hit, Corey Seager’s blast to center with two on and two outs in the fifth, was, of course, the turning point of the game, as Randal Grichuk made an outstanding defensive play to time his jump and leap over the fence to take a home run away from Seager. Had that not been caught, the score would have been 4-3 Rangers, and who knows how things would have gone from there. It was a great play by Grichuk, and as Tom Grieve would say, you have to tip your cap to him.
  • Martin Perez threw an occasional four seamer along with his sinker — the four seamer topped out at 94.3 mph and averaged 92.8, while the sinker touched 93.2 mph and averaged 92.1 mph.
  • Seager’s home run that wasn’t was the hardest hit ball of the day for the Rangers, at 104.8 mph. Mitch Garver had a 101.5 mph groundout and a 98.3 mph single. No one else among the Rangers cracked 100 mph, though Andy Ibanez had a 99.4 mph single and a pair of outs at 99.0 and 97.9. Greg Holland stuck mostly with his slider, but threw four four seamers, topping out at 93.7 mph. Kolby Allard hit 92.5 mph with his four seamer and averaged 91.5 mph. Spencer Patton hit 91.8 mph. Josh Sborz touched 97.1 mph on his four seamer, while John King reached 91.6 mph on his sinker.
  • Heading into the offday with a loss, and with a 1-4 record, isn’t fun. There are positive signs, though. This team is better than the one that we saw last year, and is playing better. Hang in there.