Yankees 10, Rangers 1
You know there's a serious problem when you're just happy that your team didn't get no-hit. Never mind that they got blown out.
20-year-old Philip Hughes dominated the Rangers for 6.1 innings last night, coming just eight outs away from being the second pitcher to no-hit Texas this season. And the worst part is, I have absolutely no doubt that Hughes would have finished the job, except for him straining his hamstring in the bottom of the 7th inning and having to be removed from the game. His injury is the latest in a string of bad luck for New York, as Hughes is expected to be out 4-6 weeks. I find it hard to muster up too much sympathy for the Yankees, though, especially when remembering those ALDS losses in '96, '98 and '99.
Hank Blalock ended any possibility of a combined no-hitter with a leadoff double in the bottom of the 8th inning off of reliever Mike Myers, and Texas somehow squeezed a run out of this late rally. But that was all the offense had in them on Tuesday night.
The Rangers, as a team, have a collective batting line of .230/.299/.392. And you know what? I'm tired. I'm tired of this team teasing us. Every time the offense has a big game and the bats look like they're about to come alive (such as after their first two games in Toronto, when they scored a combined 14 runs), they'll roll over and die again (five runs in their last three games).
And then you have Ron Washington, who made a controversial lineup decision last night in starting the freshly called up Victor Diaz at DH - in the cleanup spot. Diaz went 0 for 3 at the plate. Meanwhile, the team's second best hitter in Sammy Sosa rode the bench. Even if Diaz had clubbed four home runs, Texas still would have lost this game, but that's not really the point. I'm still a Ron Washington fan, and I like his managerial style, but some of his decisions don't make a whole lot of sense. With the way this team is playing, they need every halfway productive bat they can get in the lineup.
Kameron Loe was shelled for his second straight time out, giving up nine runs (seven earned) on ten hits, one walk and a HBP in just four innings of work. At this rate, Jamey Wright is going to win his rotation spot back easily. The bullpen gave up only one run in the last three innings, but what good is a dominant bullpen if your offense can't score runs and your starting pitching can't keep you in the game? After Loe's terrible performance, the Rangers now have the worst starting pitching ERA in all of baseball, at 6.48.
And as if all of this isn't bad enough, the defense was utterly miserable again, committing three errors on the night. With a man on first and one out in the top of the 2nd inning, Kameron Loe gave up a single to left field. Brad Wilkerson badly misplayed the ball, as it bounced off his glove and about 30 feet backwards, allowing both Yankees to move up an extra base.
After a fielder's choice that scored a run, the Yankees had a man on third with two outs. Doug Mientkiewicz hit a grounder to Michael Young, who bobbled and then dropped the ball to allow the second run to come across the plate. Not the easiest play to make, as he had to backhand the ball, but it's a play that a competent major league shortstop should make.
I can't comment on Hank Blalock's error in the 9th inning, for I had long since turned the game off in favor of the Dallas Mavericks. I suspect I'm not the only one who did that. But I can make this observation: with 22 errors as a team, the Rangers are now the third worst fielding team in baseball.
So the Rangers can't hit, pitch or field the baseball. I know we're only a month into the season, and that Texas has 136 games left to prove themselves. Perhaps the Rangers will start to play better beginning tonight, Ron Washington will bring some of that second half magic from Oakland, and Texas will win the AL West.
But a month into the season, what does all of this basically add up to?
This team sucks.
Wednesday, May 2nd Game Preview
New York Yankees (10-14) at Texas Rangers (10-16)
Andy Pettitte (1-1, 3.00 ERA) vs. Robinson Tejeda (3-1, 3.82 ERA)
7:05 PM CST in Arlington, Texas (Rangers Ballpark in Arlington)
TV: FSNSW | Radio: KRLD 1080 AM