I'd like to pretend that last night's game didn't actually happen and was actually a real-life projection straight out of our darkest nighitmares, but, alas ... hey, has anyone ever seen an alligator gar?
● Ryan Dempster was terrible last night, yielding eight earned runs on nine hits and two-plus walks for the second time in his three starts since green-lighting his trade to Texas a fortnight ago, and one of the things that jumps out at me about his Junior Circuit issues is that he hasn't been victimized by just one particular type of hitter. Dempster was dinged for seven hits and 13 total bases in 17 plate appearances vs. right-handed Angels hitters on August 2nd, but was clobbered a bit less thoroughly by left-handed hitters that night; against the Yankees' lefty-hitting contingent last night, though, Dempster allowed seven more hits and a ridiculous 15 total bases in 21 plate appearances. Everyone's getting to him.
In Dempster's (equivocal and kind of half-hearted) defense, this wasn't an open-and-shut case of him being obliterated all night long. Hre faced the minimum three batters in four different innings, with the bulk of the Yankees' damage being wrought during a five-run fourth inning, and Dempster afterwards refuted the notion that the N.L.-to-A.L. jump was the primary culprit behind his issues, remarking that it simply boiled down to him not executing his pitches in a satisfactory manner. I'm certainly not going to kneejerk like crazy here and label Dempster a bust on the basis of two bad starts, but, unfortunately, this is what you'll sometimes get with a pitcher who lives or dies by an 89-90 mph fastball.
● Remember when the Rangers triumphed in that come-from-behind thriller over the Angels 13 days ago, and Elvis Andrus said afterwards that they always knew they were going to come back and win that game, because they got "mad?" I guess that switch was barricaded away behind plexiglass and maybe a protective layer of barbed wire last night, because after the Rangers' early 2-0 lead slipped away and deteriorated into a 5-2 deficit, they really had nothing out there at the plate. Three hits and no walks over the final six innings of the game -- including a 2-for-14 showing while the game was still within reach, while Texas trailed by just 3-4 runs -- is almost never going to cut it.
Meanwhile, for all of the manager's and the media's crowing about how Michael Young is hitting like he's about to turn the corner, we find him all the way back down at .269/.300/.343 for the season after his 0-for-10 skid over the last three games. In that span, Young has seen a grand total of 34 pitches across 12 plate appearances, including an inexplicable intentional walk on Sunday and an unintentional four-pitch walk during the ninth inning on Saturday when Brayan Villarreal's control totally abandoned him. He's actually drawn two walks over the last 72 hours, but there's still hardly a whit of a power threat in his offensive game, and given his excessively swing-happy approach and lack of power, I don't hold out too much hope as far as this recent little spate of walks continuing much longer.
Young hasn't had an off day since June 10th. Mike Olt has started one game in the last eight days. Craig Gentry has started one game in the last two weeks. There's something terribly, terribly wrong with this picture ... and, yes, I realize the status quo almost certainly is what it is at this point, and that nothing is likely to materially change about this arrangement from this point forward. That doesn't mean we just stop talking about it, though.
● With their respective pick-offs at first and second base last night, Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus became the Rangers' 19th and 20th pick-off victims of the season, vaulting Texas into an undesirable outright league lead for pick-offs on the basepaths. I suppose I'm really not sure what to say about those particular follies; we can call them "sloppy" as Kevin Sherrington did and be done with it, but pick-offs are a reality of life for aggressive baserunners, with even elite basestealers usually being popped 3-4 times per season at the low end, and a half-dozen times or more at the higher end.
Yeah, those pick-offs sucked (as did the game as a whole), and they may have ultimately cost the Rangers a bit on the offensive end, but considering that Kinsler and Andrus have yet again served as two of the better baserunners in baseball this year, you'll have to forgive me for not being able to remain too incredibly torqued off at either one of them for very long.