DALLAS - If you’re reading this, you’re probably a Rangers fan. If you’re a Rangers fan, you probably feel pretty low right now.
Guess what. Sam Dyson feels worse than you do about Sam Dyson. For us, we’re watching an emotionally invested entertainment vector struggle. Sam’s seeing his career prospects crumble. Which do you think is worse?
Which is to say if there was anything Sam could do to flip the switch, he would have done it a week ago. It’s not a matter of not wanting to succeed, or not putting in the effort to succeed.
Baseball is just cruel to its followers. And right now it’s got fangs sunk deep into Sam Dyson.
From down this low/ it’s only up, up we go
Let’s get some highlights of the weekend out of the way first.
- Joey Gallo hit a double off a very tough lefty
- Shin-Soo Choo is waking up, and hit his first extra base hit - a three-run homer
- Andrew Cashner looked solid and may be stabilizing the rotation ahead of Tyson Ross’s season debut
Anything else positive, you really gotta squint to see.
On Friday, Martin Perez opposed Felix Hernandez. Perez allowed 10 baserunners across 23 batters faced. He ended up getting 15 out, though, and only allowed one to score (solo homer to Nelson Cruz), but… you kind of need to be going deeper into a game.
Perez ceded to Jose Leclerc with two on and none out in the sixth, and Leclerc struck out the side in order to preserve a 1-1 tie. Leclerc went back out for the seventh, and allowed a single- stolen base - bunt - single sequence to bring in the game’s only other run. What could have been a huge appearance to build on instead becomes a Loss on his record.
Then, Saturday. James Paxton just straight dominated the Rangers, there’s no other way to say it. Other than the aforementioned Gallo double (and subsequent steal of third, initially called out and overturned on lengthy review), no damage was done.
Meanwhile Andrew Cashner, making his Rangers and season debut, largely went toe to toe with Paxton until the sixth, when an (debatable) error on Elvis Andrus left runners on first and second with Nelson Cruz up. Cashner seemingly intentionally unintentionally walked Cruz to load the bases, when left-handed Rangers killer Kyle Seager walked up.
Strangely, Cashner’s day wasn’t done, despite the warmed lefty-killer Alex Claudio in the bullpen. Seager battled to line a single off Cashner, scoring two and ending Cashner’s day. The remaining two runs Cashner was responsible for came in two pitches in Mike Hauschild’s day, as Taylor Motter drove a three-run shot into the left field bleachers. The Rangers would only notch one more baserunner on the night, and the 5-0 mark would be finalized.
On Sunday Cole Hamels started opposite Hishashi Iwakuma, and was staked with a 6-1 lead in the fourth after Shin-Soo Choo drove in five (three run homer in the second, two run double in the third) and Jonathan Lucroy provided another (single in the third).
Some scratch baseball put two on with no out in the third (hit the leadoff batter, Leonys Martin, and a Hamels misplay on a comebacker by Guillermo Heredia). Mitch Haniger drove them in with a homer, and a snug 6-1 lead was suddenly a quarrelsome 6-4 lead, and the last thing you want to do on Easter Sunday is let a team resurrect itself, but guess what.
Hamels handed over to Tony Barnette to open the sixth; he allowed a single run in each of his two innings pitched, and the game was tied after 7, 6-6. The Rangers loaded the bases in the eighth, but were unable to score. Matt Bush silenced the Mariners in the bottom of the frame, and Nomar Mazara lead off the ninth with what should have been the game’s story, a towering home run to take the lead at 7-6.
I say should have, because Sam Dyson came in the ninth, and, well.
Look, with Dyson, there’s always a big aspect of luck, because so much of his game is causing weak contact and trusting the infield. And what did he do? He got weak grounders; they just didn't turn into outs.
Really, it’s facile to focus on Dyson, because he’s obviously just not right. It’s fair to focus on why the manager put him in that situation (in part because of the expended arms of Barnette, Claudio, Jeffress, and Bush to get the team to the ninth-but that’s not justification, that’s just another symptom to discuss).
It’s fair to focus on the fact that the other arm that should be in the conversation for closing out games, Keone Kela, is plying his craft in Round Rock out of punishment while his unit flails in the majors. It’s fair to just ask what has gone so wrong, so fast, between the World Baseball Classic and now, for Dyson. None of them will give you an answer, but all are at least fair.
And, again, save your venom you would direct at Dyson. He knows. His body language is unmistakeable, and he’s not a guy who’s happy struggling. He knows what he did, and using the internet to rub his nose in it - does it make you feel better? I get it if it does, but maybe just reconsider your life, too.
Anyway, he walked in a run and he gave up the walkoff on - what else - an infield single. 8-7. Baseball is cruel, and the team is 4-8.
It’s German for ‘The BART, The!’
The Rangers head to Oakland for a three game set with the A’s. The A’s are 5-7, with a pythagorean record of 5-7, so at least they’re nice and consistent.
AJ Griffin will start for Texas opposite Jharel Cotton. Cotton was knocked around for five runs in 4.1 innings in his first game this season, but went seven shutout (striking out six) in his second appearance.
On Tuesday, Yu Darvish will oppose Andrew Triggs. Triggs is a 28 year old righty making his third start of the season. The bad news is he’s yet to allow a run; the good news is he’s only struck out four while walking four, so the projection numbers see some regression that could come quickly to his ERA column.
In Wednesday’s finale, Martin Perez will oppose Jesse Hahn. Hahn has pitched well in each of his two outings this year; the next homer he allows in 2017 will be his first. It’s notable that this would have been Kendall Graveman’s game to pitch, but a rainout knocked the A’s off schedule, so there’s a bit of a baseball reprieve for you.
How did you spend your weekend? Watching Rangers baseball? Sorry about that. Misery Joe loves company so follow him on Twitter @thejoeursery.
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