Every Monday, we look back at the weekend's series and then preview the next week's series. Except this one is on Tuesday, because the series ended Monday. It's strange days in Texas baseball, everyone.
The Rangers have been in go-for-it mode since 2010. They've sold, stretched, pushed, extended, and over-extended themselves for four-plus years in pursuit of winning the last game of the year.
Things peak. Things valley. A franchise needs a reset every now and then, or you end up with an extremely expensive, old, and unfun roster like the Yankees; or worse, an expensive, old, schizophrenic roster like the Phillies.
It might be a time to celebrate the losses, so you can see what you have in Rougned Odor and Luis Sardinas and maybe guys like Ben Rowen or Randy Henry or Lisalverto Bonillla or Luke Jackson and the rest and reconfigure to start a new five-year run in 2015.
Injured and AWOL, that's our team; Cleveland steps into the party and disrupts the whole scene
Friday's game started off pretty great, with Odor capping a four-run second inning with a home run that traveled at least three miles (or 405 feet, whichever is greater). Yu Darvish with run support has been even more machine-like than Yu Darvish without run support; with at least three runs worth of support, Darvish has been 31-3 over his career (4-17 with two runs or less scored- which would mean something if you put any value at all on pitcher wins- which you don't - and if his ERA, home run rate, strikeout rate, and walk rate all weren't BETTER when he'd received no run support, which they are).
But, Darvish was merely human on Friday. Human Darvish is good for 7 innings and 8 strikeouts, with four runs allowed. Darvish left with the game tied, and Michael Choice was good enough to untie it soon after, and Jason Frasor and Joakim Soria made sure it remained untied.
Saturday's game featured Nick Tepesch against Josh Tomlin. Tepesch, to his credit, pitched 5.1 innings, allowing a manageable four runs. To his detriment, he walked four batters and only struck out one. Tomlin, meanwhile, went 8.0 innings while allowing three runs, striking out five while walking none. 5:0 is a very good little strikeout-to-walk ratio. 1:4 is nightmarish. Likewise, an 8-3 final isn't quite nightmarish, but it's not a dream you'd like to remember.
Sunday's game is either one that should bother you, or one that you should feel proud of. It might bother you because Joe Saunders gave you 5.1 innings while only allowing three runs to cross (two earned) - anytime a pitcher of Joe Saunders'... ummm... caliber gives you a performance like that (albeit while walking four and striking out none, putting 11 baserunners on while getting 16 outs) you'd like to turn it into a win.
Then again, when your team receives one devastating injury report (and receiving news that Mitch Moreland may be out for 1-3 months counts as devastating to this team, right now- welcome to the strangeness of 2014) and one outright terrifying possible injury (losing Rougned Odor would be... apocalyptic? I'm literally out of adjectives to describe the injury situation, and adjectives (and parenthetical asides) are kinda my thing) and still goes out and competes the way the team did on Sunday, you have to be pleased.
The point is, either way, complicated feelings about Sunday's loss are ok. Monday, however, Monday was a dumpster fire full of clown outfits. The only silver lining I can see from Sunday's loss was that you could get half-price pizza from Papa John's- and the Rangers still lost by ten runs. Nick Martinez only lasted for two innings and allowed 8 runs. In his last four starts, Martinez has allowed 32 hits and 9 walks in 19 innings. I called Martinez duct tape before, in that he held the rotation and bullpen together in an emergency situation, but you can't expect a duct tape repair to last long - and the situation hasn't gotten any less dire. Martinez looks for all the world like a guy who needs AAA (or maybe AA) time but the team might not be able to afford to give it to him, absent a call-up of someone like Luke Jackson (who's not ready himself).
If I never hear the name Lonnie Chisenhall again I think it would go a long way towards guaranteeing my happiness.
Rainy days and Marlins always get me down
The Rangers begin a two game series against the Marlins Tuesday. Miami is a weird team in a lot of ways; primarily because they keep being good despite the worst non-Sterling ownership group in America. They're also weird in that they’re starting Tom Koehler in tonight's game. Koheler's a righty who has allowed right-handed batters an .817 OPS against him for his career while allowing lefties a .664, despite walking lefties (11.15 percent of all plate appearances) much more than righties (7.3 percent walk rate). He also has an innocent, child-like appreciation of balloon animals and circus crackers.
The Rangers need a good start from Colby Lewis, with the bullpen as gassed as it is.
On Wednesday, the Marlins send Jacob Turner to the mound to face Yu Darvish. Turner's a 23-year-old righty who's sitting at a 5.93 ERA on the season. Turner doesn't strike many out, walks too many, and allows a good number of home runs, all while being relatively hittable.
In his career, Yu Darvish has allowed a .530 OPS against in inter-league play. He's struck out six times as many inter-league batters as he's walked. He's never faced the Marlins. This one could be a good game for Yu.
I also wouldn't recommend any of the parking lots behind left field, because Giancarlo Stanton is probably going to hit a ball or five out that far. I'll fawn over Joey Gallo's power all day, but if it turns into 75 percent of what Stanton's power is at the major league level I'll be very thrilled and happy and Joey Gallo will probably make a few All-Star teams and make one hundred million dollars hitting baseballs.
Joseph Ursery can be found here and on twitter.com at @thejoeursery. His main interests include fatherhood, craft beer, facial hair, and twenty-year-old middle infielders with patience and power. Oh, and cover songs, too. He really likes cover songs. “No particular reason why,” he says, but WFAA feels like there's more to this story.