Devil Rays 4, Rangers 3
If the Texas Rangers aren't finished yet, they're as close to it as they can possibly be.
Texas dropped their series opener against Tampa Bay last night, at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando. It's the first major league game ever played at the ballpark.
If there was a bright spot in last night's game, it was Brandon McCarthy putting together yet another solid start. McCarthy surrendered three runs on six hits and three walks in six innings, while striking out seven Devil Rays. That's still too many baserunners to be allowing, but this is much better than getting knocked out of the game in the 2nd or 3rd inning.
The Rangers' offense, unfortunately, is still sputtering. Three runs is not enough if you hope to consistently win games, even against a traditionally bad team like Tampa Bay (who, incidentally, now has a better record than the Rangers). And Scott Feldman came into a tie game in the bottom of the 9th inning, promptly giving up a walk, a single, an intentional walk, and a walkoff RBI single. If it's not one thing killing this team, it's another.
Brad Wilkerson, who had an .824 OPS and seemed to be coming around a bit offensively, pulled his right hamstring in the 5th inning of Tuesday night's game. Manager Ron Washington says it was a "bad" hamstring pull, which makes it sound like Wilkerson is headed to the disabled list. If I had to guess, Marlon Byrd will get the callup from Oklahoma City in his place.
The Rangers are wisely deciding to send Frank Catalanotto on a four-game rehab assignment that would put his activation date from the disabled list on Monday in Arlington. Hopefully, this plan isn't altered by the Wilkerson injury - Catalanotto needs to get his swing right, or he won't be any use to this team.
Kevin Millwood was predictably placed on the disabled list on with a strained left hamstring on Tuesday, as well as a surprise pitcher - Ron Mahay, who has a strained rib cage muscle. Apparently, Millwood's latest injury is not a re-aggravation of the earlier hamstring pull, but is lower in the muscle. Things don't sound real optimistic for Millwood coming off the disabled list after 15 days. A.J. Murray and Scott Feldman were called up to take their places, and well, we already know what happened with Feldman.
And finally, Willie Eyre is starting Saturday's game in Houston. He's made 66 career minor league starts, but this would be his first major league start. Perhaps he'll have a fluke start like Mike Wood did against the Yankees in the doubleheader in Arlington, but it's much more likely we'll get spared to death.
Wednesday, May 16th Game Preview
Texas Rangers (15-24) at Tampa Bay Devil Rays (16-22)
Vicente Padilla (1-5, 4.78 ERA) vs. Casey Fossum (2-3, 7.43 ERA)
6:10 PM CST in Orlando, Florida (The Ballpark at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex)
TV: FSNSW | Radio: KRLD 1080 AM
MVN's latest power rankings are out, with the Rangers clocking in at #26.