This is kind of a non sequitur, a hesitant query that I'm uncertain about as far as what kind of response it will generate, but it's something I've wondered about a few times lately -- do people really want intensively detailed 1,000-plus word posts on each and every one of these games? I mention this now because, for the longest time, I've felt this vague sense of being outworked when I go check out, say, Jeff Sullivan's game recap posts over at Lookout Landing, which regularly run past 1,500 words. I know it's the quality and not the quantity that matters, but sometimes I wonder if I should concentrate more of my focus on the minutia of the individual games and less on the long-term ramifications.
Yeah. I don't know. The human mind concocts some strange questions in the early hours of the morning. Sometimes, though, it has less to do with the time of day and more to do with the human mind being blindsided by an unbelievably poor display of baseball, and the difficulty of reconciling such a lousy showing with that whole 'more wins than any other team in baseball' thing:
● The most telling comment that I think anyone could possibly issue regarding Justin Grimm's completely wheels-off effort (1.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 H, 1 BB, 0 K) was uttered by Grimm himself when, after the game, he remarked that his change-up was "probably his best pitch" on the night. Jason Cole has written at length about how Grimm has made significant strides with that particular offering since entering the pro ball realm, and how it could eventually develop into the legitimate third pitch that would enable him to stick as a starter in a first-division rotation ... but right now, it's still his third-best pitch, and if that's the best thing you have working on a given night, that's likelier than not to be an indictment of your two main pitches. It was, in any event, a pretty savage beating, and not just a simple cut-and-dry instance of Grimm being BABIP'd to death.
● Because I've developed a sick sort of fetish for contextualizing incredibly bad performances, and because I have full-on Play Index access, I can tell you that Grimm is now only the eighth pitcher in the entire 41-year history of the Rangers franchise to allow nine baserunners in a single out while recording three or fewer outs -- although the strange thing there is that Grimm isn't even the first Rangers pitcher in the last 30 days to fall victim to such a fate:
|1||Yoshinori Tateyama||2012-05-30||SEA||L 8-21||2-3||0.2||7||8||6||1||9||0||1|
|2||Chan Ho Park||2005-06-21||LAA||L 6-8||GS-2 ,L||1.0||10||8||8||1||11||0||0|
|3||Ryan Drese||2003-04-12||SEA||L 4-13||GS-1 ,L||0.1||4||6||5||3||9||1||0|
|4||Pat Mahomes||2001-05-30||KCR||L 2-11||GS-1 ,L||1.0||8||7||7||0||9||0||1|
|5||Roger Pavlik||1994-06-06||NYY||L 7-17||GS-1 ,L||1.0||7||7||7||3||10||0||1|
|6||Rick Helling||1994-05-11||CAL||L 1-13||GS-1 ,L||1.0||10||9||9||0||10||0||4|
|7||Don Stanhouse||1973-04-11||KCR||L 6-9||GS-2 ,L||1.0||5||5||5||4||9||1||1|
Ron Washington didn't really confirm or deny anything on Grimm's near-term role after the game, as he merely stated that Grimm had begun preparing for his next start; with Derek Holland likely not being ready to go until after the All-Star break, you're looking at needing two more starts out of Grimm's spot in the rotation, and it will be interesting to see if the Rangers' enthusiasm on the Grimm experiment wanes in the days to come, as the organization attempts to bridge the remaining gap between where it is right now pitching-wise and that blessed point in time when it finally gets its rotation and bullpen back close to something resembling full strength.
● The only other immediate candidate to replace Grimm in the rotation is, of course, Scott Feldman, who was shunted back to long-relief duties once Roy Oswalt entered the rotation picture, and made it abundantly clear to the public that he didn't like that one little bit. If he was already hacked off about the perceived injury risk that going from the bullpen to the rotation back to the bullpen entailed, though, I imagine he was really hacked off on Monday night when the Rangers had him fully warm up behind a floundering Grimm in the first inning, and then sat him down in favor of Michael Kirkman, who proceeded to spin five innings of two-run ball in relief ... and then even got as far as warming up utility infielder Alberto Gonzalez in the ninth inning rather than Feldman, despite Washington's stated opposition against using position players to pitch.
Here's a very special MLB.tv screengrab of Hacked Off Feldman during the ninth inning as he apparently plotted Joe Nathan's demise:
As for Kirkman, one is inclined to believe that he'll be shipped back to Triple-A Round Rock before tomorrow night's game to bring a fresher, available arm into the fold, and according to both Martin Perez and his agent on Twitter last night, the 21-year-old southpaw will be getting the call to the majors later today -- presumably as an emergency, low-leverage arm, because with Feldman not actually pitching last night, he's now your No. 1 middle/long relief option coming out of the bullpen behind Yu Darvish. Alternatively, the Rangers could pull the plug on Grimm for the time being and tap into one of Feldman/Perez to start in his place, with the other serving in a long-relief capacity.
● For the second time in less than a month, the Rangers' offense has amassed 14 or more baserunners in a single nine-inning game, and has produced two or fewer runs in the process, with Josh Hamilton overcoming his dipping withdrawals and assorted struggles at the plate and procession of irresponsible bat tosses long enough to club a low-leverage two-run shot in the seventh inning. Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, and Nelson Cruz got together and churned out a nice 3-for-19, six-strikeout, no-walk, no-extra base showing out of four of the top six spots in the lineup, so, you know, that was immensely helpful and constructive in the wider scheme of things.
● Because I feel as though I should end this post the same way that I began it (that is, with a non sequitur that really has nothing to do with the baseball game covered by the post itself), here is Nolan Ryan commenting on the Josh Hamilton movie deal in what the audio itself reveals to be a 'yeah I'm laughing to misdirect all of you even though I'm actually not happy about this' sort of tone:
[Nolan's] reaction to the news that Hamilton's life story would be made into a feature film:
"Well that's the first one that I'm aware of so yeah I wasn't really thrilled with the timing."
I've been enlightened to ways that this film could be properly executed and poignantly capture the essence of the Hamilton "story" even though his career narrative is still being written, and so on and so forth ... but I wonder how many other Rangers people in a decision-making capacity besides Nolan "[weren't] really thrilled]" about the timing of the announcement and the project itself.