I know this is a lost season, but tonight's 9-6 loss to the Brewers is tough to swallow. Especially when you consider how close Texas came to sweeping this series against Milwaukee.
A few random thoughts:
Marlon Byrd did just about everything you can possibly ask for out of him, going 4 for 6 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI, including a stunning game-tying RBI single off closer Francisco Cordero...for the second straight night. Incredible. I'm not totally certain whether Byrd is arbitration eligible after this season, or whether he's a free agent, but I want him back. I love his enthusiasm, I love his fielding, and right now I'm loving his offense too.
On May 3rd, Michael Young was batting just .192. He's all the way up to .284 now, after going 3 for 6 with 3 RBI tonight. I think we can finally say he's back for good.
Sammy Sosa went 0 for 5 tonight with a walk and two strikeouts. His OPS is now under the .750 mark. He hasn't homered since May 16th, off Johan Santana. How much longer can the Rangers wait for his 600th home run before deciding enough is enough? By the way, Sosa/Catalanotto/Kinsler/Wilkerson/Vazquez (batters 4 through 8 in the order) went a combined 0 for 24 tonight. Ridiculous.
Vicente Padilla was hittable to say the least, giving up 11 hits and a walk in his 4.2 innings of work. However, he worked his way out of multiple jams, and with the aid of his five strikeouts, allowed only two runs. It's a start.
The bullpen has certainly been the major strength of the Rangers this year, but they failed tonight. Wes Littleton, C.J. Wilson and Frankie Francisco combined to give up four runs in their combined 2.1 innings of work, and right there is where the Rangers really lost this game.
With two outs and nobody on in the 6th inning, Littleton gave up a relatively harmless single to Ryan Braun. Wilson came on and gave up a single, followed by consecutive HBPs to force in a run, followed by a two run single from Johnny Estrada to make it 5-4 in favor of Milwaukee. Giving up a three run rally in that fashion is just plain ugly.
Ron Washington burned through nearly his entire bullpen just to get to extra innings, leaving Willie Eyre and Scott Feldman as the only two pitchers still available for the 10th inning and beyond. Considering Eyre's resume, you can't ask for much more than what he gave the Rangers; he got Texas through the 10th and 11th innings intact, but the offense couldn't finish the job.
Eyre and the Rangers caught a huge break in the 11th inning, as Tony Gwynn Jr. was called out at home when replays showed that he probably touched the plate before catcher Adam Melhuse made the tag. Eyre's luck ran out in the 12th inning though, as he allowed a three run shot to Geoff Jenkins that essentially sealed the deal.
Ian Kinsler made an inexcusable error to lead off that 12th inning, booting a routine grounder from Ryan Braun which allowed him to reach first base safely. Perhaps Eyre would have blown the game anyway, but Kinsler's error changes the entire outlook of the inning, including Eyre's approach on the mound and the mindset of Milwaukee's hitters. It's certainly reasonable to assume that Kinsler's error had a big hand in losing this ballgame.
Kinsler has now committed 13 errors this year, good for second worst in baseball. I don't know what his problem in the field is, be it a lack of concentration or just poor fundamentals, but it needs to end. Now.
Tomorrow is a travel day for the Rangers, as they embark on a six game road trip - three games apiece in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, starting Tuesday night at 7:05. They'll return home for a six game homestand starting next Tuesday against the Cubs and Astros.
Francisco Cordero must be absolutely ecstatic to be leaving Arlington.