Losing, losing is one thing. It's never pretty, really, but it can have a certain aesthetic to it that presents at least some value.
This team seems to be doing a lot of losing. That's one thing. But they're losing in a repeated, teeth-grinding, painful way. And that's the lemon juice in the papercut.
Marooned by the Mariners
I can wrap up the whole weekend in one sentence: the starting pitchers gave the team a chance to win, but the offense was gormless and when the bullpen failed, it failed spectacularly.
So, now that's done, I guess I can give you my thoughts on the delightful Dreamworks movie Trolls starring Anna Kendrick.
(Ed. Note- No.)
In Friday’s opener, Yu Darvish gave the Rangers seven innings of one run ball, with only a two-minute at-bat by Robinson Cano ending in a solo homer in the fourth.
Unfortunately, the Rangers bats matched the same against old frustrating friend Yovani Gallardo, and both starters departed with the score tied at one all. Which would continue for a total of nine innings after the last score, when the Rangers finally broke through in the 13th inning with a two-run Rougned Odor homer to give them a 3-1 mark.
The ball was turned over to Alex Claudio, who notched his first career save just two days after making his first career start. It’s been a heroic week for Mr. Claudio, not unlike when Princess Poppy had to brave a trek through the forest only to infiltrate Bergen Town to rescue her friends.
On Saturday, Martin Perez took the ball for Texas and pitched six innings of one run ball, walking none while striking out five. The issue is he took the ball for the seventh inning, allowing a single and then a second runner on his own throwing error before ceding to Keone Kela with two on and none out. Kela went infield single-HBP and was pulled for Dario Alvarez.
A few minutes later, the Mariners offense tallied in one inning what the Rangers’ offense to 31 innings this week to do, which was score seven runs. The scene reminded me of when Branch and Princess Poppy learned that Creek had not only sold them out to the Bergens, but had given up the secret location of the rest of the Trolls.
Oh, Joey Gallo hit a homer and Mike Napoli did too, to account for Texas’ two runs. The team struck out ten times, continuing a week-plus long run of strikeouts.
Finally, in Sunday’s finale, the team saw the tandem Mariners starters of lefty Dillon Overton and righty Christian Bergman. The Rangers took an early lead, scoring once each in the first (Gomez sac fly) and second (Choo groundout), handing Andrew Cashner a lead he would maintain through six scoreless (allowing one runner per inning in a neat display of symmetry).
But, like Perez before him, Cashner would be undone by appearing in the seventh and allowing the leadoff runner on (walk to Kyle Seager). He was replaced by Jose Leclerc, who we learned this weekend was nursing a bone bruise on his finger, which sounds very, very awful to live with, let alone pitch with.
Leclerc walked three of the next four batters, and Alex Claudio was called out in desperation. A weak flare to short center was just out of Elvis Andrus’ reach, and the game was tied at three.
One inning later, Kyle Seager finished the job he had started in the seventh, homering off Sam Dyson, and...well… I’ll just let the visual image of this homer landing speak for itself. 4-3, and there’s really no comparison to the fine animated musical Trolls to be made here, because it’s a lighthearted romp and the Rangers 2017 season is anything but.
There, and back again
The Rangers head to San Diego to start a four game, home-and-home series against old friend A.J. Preller. Forgive the Padres, for they have a 12-20 record (one game better than Texas) and are eight games back in their division (as is Texas).
In Monday’s opener, Trevor Cahill starts for San Diego against Nick Martinez. Newly minted major leaguer Austin Bibens-Dirkx (no, that’s not misspelled) is a solid bet to see his first action if Martinez looks more like his last appearance against the Astros than he had the two starts prior.
You’ll be forgiven if you pay more attention to former Padre Tyson Ross’ simulated game on Monday as he’s pretty much the only cavalry on the horizon for this pitching staff.
On Tuesday, the circle of old AL West pitchers continues with A.J. Griffin starting opposite noted swamp goblin and 85 MPH fastballer Jered Weaver. Weaver is 0-3 on the year with a 5.51 ERA, and has allowed 12 homers in 32.2 innings pitched.
On Wednesday, you’ll see ace Yu Darvish versus Luis Perdomo. Perdomo leads baseball with a nice 69.1 groundball rate on his way to 4.03 ERA on the year that the predictive rates describe as a little unlucky (FIP/xFIP of 3.08/3.31).
As you might expect with a guy that only lets ⅓ of balls hit against him leave the ground, he’s only allowed a homer run rate of .4 per nine innings pitched on the year.
Finally, on Thursday, Martin Perez will oppose Jhoulys Chacin. Chacin is 3-3 with a 5.68 ERA but even that is a bit of a mirage, as his home/road split shows 2.85 ERA at Petco and 10.24 on the road. Perez might provide a bit of emotional support for him in that department (assuming he’s not, you know, busy… pitching.)
To get Joe's real, and frankly kind of vulgar, thoughts on the Dreamworks movie Trolls, follow him on Twitter @thejoeursery.