Well, let's go ahead and jump headlong into this morning's less-than-joyous collection of bullet points:
● It was an interesting night for the (comparatively) little lefty from Venezuela, and, on the whole, a good night, albeit a luck-facilitated night. Martin Perez fell behind in the count early and often, as he fell behind into a 1-0 count more often than he got ahead with an 0-1 count (12 times for the former, 11 times for the latter), and he exposed himself to some hard contact, and he didn't miss bats -- but what he did do is battle, and never deviated from his assault upon the bottom end of the strike zone, and when you stick to that game plan, sometimes good things happen. As it turned out, Perez went six innings and allowed just one run on five hits and a pair of walks, and while you'd like to see the process improve going forward, the results were more than good enough for a win. I'm just disappointed that the win didn't materialize.
● After receiving a free base on a first-inning hit-by-pitch last night, Ian Kinsler ended up being called out on a bang-bang play that resulted from a sharp pick-off throw to the bag by Clay Buchholz, and, after protesting the call to first base umpire Tim Tschida with what were evidently some poorly chosen words, he received a prompt heave-ho and a spectacularly early trip to the showers. Kinsler furnished his own terse account of what went down after the game: "I said something I was not supposed to say. I thought I was safe, he thought I was out. I said something I wasn't supposed to and he threw me out." As for whether he was actually safe or out ... well, you be the judge.
Baseball's umpiring collective has been subjected to a fair amount of criticism over the years for the showboating and self-aggrandizing antics of a few of its members (with Country Joe West perhaps being the most serious offender in that regard), and, indeed, when something like the Kinsler/Tschida incident transpires, we tend to side with the player almost out of instinct. The reality, though, is that thanks to the power of MLB.tv, we know exactly which magic words earned Kinsler his last ejection, and they weren't constructive or defensive so much as they were vitriolic, so we have some recent evidence of poor judgment on his end in dealing with umpires ... and, in any event, Kinsler seems to acknowledge that he crossed the line with whatever he said to Tschida, and I guess all you can hope for is Kinsler developing some control over his quick temper and ill-advised penchant for overstepping his bounds whenever he feels as though he's been screwed. I dig Kinsler and everything, but, man, he just can't do that.
● I was extremely hacked off by the Rangers' offensive showing last night immediately after the game wrapped up, and then I calmed down a bit as part of a focused effort to look at things in a more rational light ... and now I'm back to hacked off. Josh Hamilton did nothing. Michael Young did even less than Hamilton's nothing, because at least Hamilton plated a run on a ground out. Nelson Cruz did nothing. They had a not-very-good Clay Buchholz in their house on their terms, and did virtually nothing during his seven innings. They went 0-for-9 with runners on base. It was exasperating.
Yeah, all of the usual future-oriented caveats along the lines of 'this offense is too talented to continue underwhelming us like this' and 'their luck with men on base/runners in scoring position will normalize over time' apply. I get it, I accept it, and I'm hopeful about it. But that knowledge doesn't make me feel any better this morning, on the morning after a miserable one-run effort by the offense in a game lost by one run, and may a higher power help us all if this same disappearing act materializes during the post-season, because, at some point, you either get it done or you don't.
● The lone run of the night charged against Martin Perez came around to score in the top of the fourth inning when, with two outs and a runner on first base, David Murphy took one of the more bizarre routes to any ball that we have seen this season. Within the span of a few short seconds, the Rangers' right fielder for the night initially broke in on a Kelly Shoppach fly ball, then desperately cut backwards as he realized the ball was tracking much deeper than he first thought, and then swerved to his left before unceremoniously crashing into the wall. The route was a failure, the run scored all the way from first base, and Texas yielded what would prove to be an enormous first run of the night:
Yeah, I ... I don't know, either. I know most people don't regard Murphy as a good defensive outfielder to begin with, but that was just uncharacteristically poor, and, unfortunately for Perez and the Rangers, a very costly miscue.
● If there was any good news to emanate from this game, it was that Adrian Beltre passed his initial concussion exams after his eighth-inning departure -- a departure borne from a horrifically out-of-control two-seamer uncorked by notorious head-hunter Vicente Padilla, who went to an 0-2, two-out count on Beltre and then, out of nowhere, pinged a heater off of his helmet. The game was knotted at the time, and the Rangers had the go-ahead run at third base, and I can't recall any type of personal beef between Padilla and Beltre, so there's really no reason to believe this was an intentional and malicious act; even Beltre himself feels it was unintentional. That doesn't mean I'm not still seething about how it went down, though. I didn't need that kind of a scare. None of us did.
● Joe Nathan's two ninth-inning walks -- and the subsequent tie-breaking single -- made me sad. So, too, did the three outs in the bottom of the ninth inning recorded by Alfredo Aceves, all of which were recorded on the first pitch of the at-bat. What an awful, dejecting, miserable finish. I try to remain at least somewhat upbeat about this team even during its darker moments, because I realize that people don't want to punch up BBTiA every morning and be greeted by a wall of rambling, hypercritical text, but that game just infuriated me to the core.
But, then again, I wouldn't be aggravated if I didn't still care. I guess I still care. Great. Anyone else up for #cookietalk?