Angels 8, Rangers 3
Texas is still searching for that elusive first win of the season. And they still can't stop Vlad.
Very tough game for the Rangers, who are now 0-2 on the season and two games behind Anaheim and Seattle. It may be far too soon to watch the standings, but Texas can't afford to dig themselves a huge hole right off the bat. If you're looking for reasons for optimism, though, here's a few:
- The Rangers began last season 2-7, but improved to 32-26 by June 7th and held a 4.5 game lead in the AL West. That is, until the roof caved in.
- The Dallas Mavericks began 0-4 this year. They're currently 62-12.
I was one of the unfortunate fans to get blacked out from last night's KDFI telecast over here in Tyler (I'm looking at you, Suddenlink/Cox Cable) but in retrospect that wasn't the worst thing. Vicente Padilla was hit very hard, allowing six runs on nine hits and three walks in just 4 2/3 innings. He only struck out one Angel. Since I wasn't able to see the game, I can't really comment on how Padilla's velocity and command looked, but this seems rather troublesome.
Padilla was experiencing elbow soreness on March 24th, and he was crushed on March 28th by the Mariners in his last start of the spring. I believe that he may be pitching through some pain right now, and that is a huge concern. If he has to miss an extended period of time, the Rangers are in big trouble. In fact, the conspiracy theorist side of me is wondering whether the organization was aware that Vicente was hurt before making their decision on the #5 starter spot, and knew they'd need the additional rotation depth - not to fill in for Jamey Wright, but possibly for Padilla. Again, there's no statement from the club indicating that he's hurt, but it sure seems plausible.
The bullpen wasn't particularly great either, with Scott Feldman and C.J. Wilson each coughing up a run in their 2 1/3 combined innings of work. By the time Feldman came in, though, the Rangers were already down 6-2. Bruce Chen pitched a scoreless 8th inning.
As for the offense, there were a few bright spots. Ian Kinsler jacked his second home run in as many days, Gerald Laird and Kenny Lofton both doubled, Sammy Sosa got his first hit of the season, and the Rangers worked a whopping eight walks at the plate. However, Texas once again failed to cash in on their scoring opportunities: they were 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday night, and are now 0 for 15 on the season. The law of averages dictate that this trend will turn itself around, but that doesn't help the Rangers right now.
Michael Young went 0 for 5 last night, and is now 0 for 9 with eight men left on base. You know that he'll turn things around and have another .300 or better season at the plate, but he's gotta get back on track - especially batting third. Nelson Cruz's debut wasn't real great either, as he went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. And Sammy Sosa is not proving to be a very dangerous threat behind Teixeira so far, which may be part of the reason why he's been walked four times in two games. Ian Kinsler may end up batting in that spot sooner rather than later.
Texas and Anaheim square off in their final game of their opening series today at 2:35 PM CST, with Brandon McCarthy making his Rangers debut against Ervin Santana.
You know how the team's new marketing slogan is "You could use some baseball?"
The Rangers could use a win.