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Joseph's Rangers thoughts: The Mariners series (5/24)

Joseph's Rangers thoughts: The Mariners series (5/24)

Credit: Getty Images

SEATTLE, WA - MAY 22: Mitch Moreland #18 (R) of the Texas Rangers is congratulated by Josh Hamilton #32 (L) and Nelson Cruz #17 after scoring on a triple by Elvis Andrus against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on May 22, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

by JOSEPH URSERY

WFAA Sports Blogger

Posted on May 24, 2012 at 9:31 PM

* After Wednesday's first inning, I was literally one pitch away from denouncing Matt Harrison from my circle of Sabremetric baseball favorites. Then he goes and pitches into the eighth inning. Baseball: it's a funny game.

* Actually, no, baseball isn't very fun or funny right now. The Rangers are playing very badly in a stretch where they should be padding their divisional lead by feasting on weak opponents. Not that any of the other AL West figures are doing any better - only the Dodgers in the NL West hold a larger lead over their respective second-place team than the five games the Rangers hold over the Athletics right now. However an opportunity lost is an opportunity lost.

* Robbie Griffin of SBNation.com has some very good reasons why we shouldn't be desparing, though. A certain Han Solo quote may be in order.

* In 12 innings against Kevin Millwood this year, the Rangers have had 11 baserunners and scored two runs. Millwood has pitched surprisingly well this year, but not nearly well enough to hold a line like that against a lineup like this one.

* Alex Liddi went 3-for-8 with two walks and Wednesday's grand slam in this series. For the season, Liddi has been about as bad, generally, as Craig Gentry had been previous to this season (Gentry's career wRC+ is 94, Liddi's this season is 97). If Craig Gentry were to beat down another team like Liddi did, I would expect that team to feel bad about itself.

* Tom Grieve has forgotten more about baseball than I know, but I do pride myself on studying and digesting the statistical and analytical aspect of the game more than TAG would care to admit that he does. That's fine, because Tom has lived the game far more closely than I have for longer than I've been alive. That's why when Tom just nearly stumbles onto something that has been generally been proven quantitatively, but goes against established wisdom, it's noteworthy.

In the eighth inning of Tuesday's game, TAG pointed out how much tougher of a road to hoe Mike Adams was given (coming on with no outs, men on first and second, and the middle of the Mariners' order up) than what he would cede to Joe Nathan (a clean slate, facing the bottom of the order). Grieve stopped himself, right there, from saying 'Gosh, maybe teams shouldn't be saving their 'best' relief pitcher solely for the ninth inning,' but that was the next logical step to this thought process. So close to such a big step...

* To highlight that note, Adams' Win Percentage Added for Tuesday's game was .27. Nathan's was .07.

* It stands to be noted how close the rotation is to being in very, very real trouble. The team doesn't have a real longman right now (Yoshi Tateyama can do it, but is miscast as anything other than a right-on-right specialist, and Robbie Ross can do it, but is more valuable in the role he's been in) and the 'next' starter may well not be in the organization right now. That's because the team's AAA depth - Martin Perez, Neil Ramirez, Michael Kirkman, and Mark Hamburger - have all scuffled to one degree or another (certainly none have distinguished themselves as a legitimate, major-league starting option right now).

Ross and Ogando are commonly viewed options amongst fandom, but neither is really a good fit - both are valuable in their current roles, and both would require a trip to the minors to get stretched out for a likely minimum of three weeks.

* Roy Oswalt could be that starter, but the odds are stacked against him. Even if he signed right now, he probably wouldn't be available as a major league option until July - about the time Neftali Feliz could be returning (in an optimistic timetable). As well, the team is likely up against the budget for the 2012 year, and Oswalt is not going to accept bottom-feeder money to come here.

* If you did want an established pitcher, Matt Garza is a name to look at. A free agent at the end of the year, the Cubs (who are going nowhere this season) are going to be looking at either moving him this year for their choice of prospects, or lose him in free agency and hope for good luck in the draft. I'm not sure what it would take to get him, but I think the price (A) wouldn't be prohibitive and (B) would probably offer more bang-for-the-buck than high-end rental pitchers like Zach Greinke or Cole Hamels.

If Joseph Ursery used Facebook like he uses Twitter, that whole IPO thing wouldn't have been such a boodoggle. Head over and follow @thejoeursery for fun and for science.

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