Sigh. Another really deflating loss.
Jamey Wright gave up just two runs in five decent innings, and the bullpen provided three shutout innings, but Texas still lost 2-1. The Rangers had numerous scoring opportunities, but were never able to land the big blow on Tim Wakefield. Sammy Sosa got a chance to break things open with the bases loaded in the 7th inning, but reliever Manny Delcarmen struck him out on a high 3-2 fastball.
Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon nearly had a Francisco Cordero-esque meltdown in the 9th inning. After retiring the first two hitters, Kenny Lofton (who had a monster night, going 4 for 4 with a walk and 4 SB) beat out an infield single at first base, prompting an rare explosion from Papelbon at first base umpire Mike Reilly.
After returning to the mound, Papelbon hit Jerry Hairston Jr. on the elbow with a 3-1 pitch, putting the tying and go-ahead runs on base with Michael Young up to bat. Unfortunately, after a tough seven pitch battle, Young struck out looking on an absolutely perfect fastball on the outside corner.
The eventual game-winning run scored for the Red Sox in the 5th inning. With Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz in scoring position and two outs, Manny Ramirez hit a line drive up the middle that Jamey Wright deflected with a nice right foot kick save. Third baseman Ramon Vazquez caught the ball, but instead of throwing Manny out at first base for the final out of the inning, opted to tag out Ortiz as he wandered between 2nd and 3rd base. Before Vazquez could make the tag, Youkilis crossed home plate, and the run counted.
Ordinarily, I might take a shot at Vazquez for making a defensive gaffe like that, but there's the possibility that Manny could have beaten the throw, and Vazquez probably felt he could make the tag on Ortiz before Youkilis scored. And besides, let's be perfectly honest here: Texas lost this game because the offense failed, not because of the pitching or defense. One run isn't going to beat the best team in baseball very often.
Ian Kinsler is expected to miss this weekend's games with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, but the Rangers are hopeful he won't end up on the disabled list. Kinsler had this to say before Friday night's game:
"It didn't feel very good this morning," Kinsler said before Friday's game. "But I came to the clubhouse and got some treatment, and it did start to feel a little bit better. If it gets a little better with each round of treatment, I might just stay [in the clubhouse] getting treatment all night."
Gerald Laird was out of the lineup on Friday night after fouling a ball off his right kneecap on Thursday, but apparently it was a planned day off and had nothing to do with the injury. Additionally, the swelling in Willie Eyre's right hand has gone down considerably, and he could be available for Saturday night's game.
Kat O'Brien (name ring a bell?) of New York Newsday says that the Yankees have inquired about relievers Eric Gagne and Aki Otsuka, while Tyler Kepner of New York Times has less encouraging news, saying that the Yanks are out of the running in the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes. That would certainly not be a real great development as far as the Rangers' trade leverage is concerned.
Richard Durrett of the Dallas Morning News has a piece out concerning Thomas Diamond's recovery from Tommy John surgery, which was performed on March 20th. Diamond is expected to begin long tossing from 40 to 45 feet in about three weeks, but won't be throwing off a mound for another seven months. Still, it's good to hear Diamond is taking things in stride and is optimistic about his rehab, and hopefully he can still make a contribution at the big league level for the Rangers.
Mike Wood has been selected to the Triple-A All-Star team, after going 7-1 with a 2.44 ERA for the Redhawks this year. Nelson Cruz and Jason Botts weren't selected, but that's not to say they're not deserving: coming into Friday, Botts was hitting .313/.425/.500, including a whopping 1.149 OPS for the month of June in 90 AB. Cruz has accumulated just 71 AB for the Redhawks since being optioned on June 5th, but he's hitting .366/.446/.775 with 8 HR. Absolutely ridiculous.
Former Rangers great Juan Gonzalez has been elected to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, and will be inducted on November 9th in Houston. I wonder if Tom Hicks will be among those in attendance? Astros manager Phil Garner, former Astros outfielder Cesar Cedeno, Beaumont native Frank Robinson, former Negro League star Willie Wells and Austin native Don Baylor are also being inducted.
Friday was the two-year anniversary of Kenny Rogers launching an unprovoked attack on KDFW cameraman Larry Rodriguez. Since Texas severed ties with Rogers after the 2005 season, Kenny has gone 19-8 with a 3.67 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 216 innings for the Tigers. Just sayin'.
Robinson Tejeda will take the mound on Saturday night for the Rangers. He has not really thrown anything that could be considered a "good" start since May 18th, when he allowed one run in five innings to the Astros. Manager Ron Washington hopes to see more consistency from Tejeda on Saturday:
"I just want to see his command get better," manager Ron Washington said. "If that happens, he will have results. The problem comes from not repeating his mechanics. At some point, he's going to have to get to a point where he can get up there every time and repeat what he did the last pitch."
With the Rangers facing the red-hot Josh Beckett, they better hope that Tejeda's command gets better.
And in a hurry, too.
Saturday, June 30th Game Preview
Texas Rangers (32-47) at Boston Red Sox (49-29)
Robinson Tejeda (5-7, 6.57 ERA) vs. Josh Beckett (11-1, 3.07 ERA)
6:05 PM CST in Boston, Massachusetts (Fenway Park)
TV: KDFI/My27 | Radio: KRLD 1080 AM