Mariners 5, Rangers 4
Tough loss last night for your Texas Rangers, who once again had no lack of scoring opportunities but couldn't put the game away when they had a chance.
Kevin Millwood said that he felt he had thrown his best game of 2007 on Monday night, and manager Ron Washington says that Millwood pitched "awesome" because he kept the Rangers in the game. The box score would seem to disagree.
Millwood allowed five runs on ten hits and a pair of walks in six innings of work, while striking out five Mariners. I don't care how well Kevin says he threw, allowing an average of two baserunners per inning is not conducive to winning ballgames. Millwood got himself out of several jams, but couldn't avoid Ichiro smacking a three run triple into the right field corner during Seattle's four run 4th inning.. At least he seems to be comfortable on the mound, but the Rangers need better performances than that from their "ace."
Texas's offense appeared to have woken up for a while: after falling behind 4-0, the Rangers got a single from Sammy Sosa and a two run homer from Hank Blalock that landed just beyond the "Bermuda Triangle" seats in the right field corner.
An inning later (bottom of the 5th), Texas got a one out triple from Frank Catalanotto, followed by three consecutive singles from Michael Young, Mark Teixeira and Sosa to tie the game at 4-4. Unfortunately, Mike Hargrove brought on Brandon Morrow in relief of Cha Seung Baek, who promptly blew away Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz with high-90's cheese to end the threat. The FSN gun read 101 MPH on at least one pitch. Seattle scored a run in the 7th inning, which would prove to be the eventual game-winner.
The Rangers' only other threat was in the bottom of the 8th, when the Rangers got men on 1st and 2nd with two outs. But Hargrove brought in closer J.J. Putz, who retired the next four hitters for a 1.1 inning save. At least there's some signs of the offense coming out of their huge slump; most of the blame goes on Millwood for this loss, rather than the hitting.
Anyway, a few notes before today's 1:05 finale:
- Gerald Laird is now hitting .098/.190/.137 in 51 at-bats. In a way, this is more disturbing than Michael Young's slow start because at least you have some confidence that Young is going to get much better. You can't have quite that level of confidence in Gerald, who's not nearly as proven. Laird was impressive backing up Rod Barajas last year, but seems totally lost right now at the plate.
- Brad Wilkerson, who has been on the bench for five games battling a sore knee, is expected to start in today's game against Jarrod Washburn.
- With Gagne back on the disabled list, Ron Washington has apparently appointed Joaquin Benoit as his new setup man behind closer Aki Otsuka. However, Frankie Francisco may get some work in the role as well if he establishes himself early.
- Ian Kinsler batting seventh against right-handers is no longer just a temporary experiment, according to Ron Washington.
- Tom Hicks, who owns the Dallas Stars and Texas Rangers, must have had a pretty miserable Monday night. The Stars lost in Game 7 of their first round playoff series, 4-1.
There's a rather large pocket of rain moving over the Metroplex right now, and severe weather is expected across northern Texas later today. No idea whether the Rangers will be able to get this game in, but right now I'm guessing they won't. Hopefully I'm wrong.
Tuesday, April 24th Game Preview
Seattle Mariners (6-9) at Texas Rangers (8-11)
Jarrod Washburn (0-2, 4.42 ERA) vs. Vicente Padilla (0-3, 6.00 ERA)
1:05 PM CST in Arlington, Texas (Rangers Ballpark in Arlington)
TV: KDFW/FOX 4 | Radio: KRLD 1080 AM