C’mon, it’s a long season. You know this. We’ve got 159 more of these. Don’t pull your red-and-blue-painted hair out just because the Rangers dropped a couple of stinkers, including Wednesday’s series finale against the Seattle Mariners.
Here are a few reactions to the 9-5 loss and why fretting the early bullpen troubles is a fool’s errand:
1. Stand-up relievers — Closer Shawn Tolleson blew the save and took the loss after allowing five consecutive Mariners hits in the ninth, including a two-run homer by Robinson Cano. As he has in the past after a tough outing, Tolleson stood admirably before his locker and answered every postgame question like a pro. Tony Barnette and Tom Wilhelmsen did the same after their struggles in Tuesday’s loss. Before you roll your eyes and dismiss this as irrelevant, remember that relievers need to move on and have short memories for this very reason. Barnette bounced back in Wednesday’s game and Wilhelmsen and Tolleson vowed they’d do the same.
2. Signs of life — The offense finally showed a jolt of power with Prince Fielder’s first homer, a three-run shot that put the Rangers up 5-3 in the sixth. The Rangers have 15 hits through their first three games, the 21st fewest in the league and fewest of all teams with at least three games played. Eleven teams with just two games played have more hits than the Rangers.
Fielder’s power is a good sign, however. It took him 14 games to hit his first in 2015.
“I’d like to win, also,” Fielder said. “Any time you can go ahead and put some runs on the board that’s a good thing.”
Adrian Beltre had two of the seven hits on Wednesday, and Justin Ruggiano doubled in his debut with the Rangers.
3. Heading West — The Rangers begin a four-game series against the Angels in Anaheim at 9:05 p.m. Thursday. A year ago, the Rangers went 7-12 against both the Mariners and Angels, and 9-10 against the A’s. They only hung on for the A.L. West title by going 13-6 against the second-place Astros. To prevent a repeat performance and perhaps a much harder path to another division title, the Rangers can’t afford another lopsided won-loss record against their West rivals. They play three in Seattle after the Angels series, so even though it’s early, the jockeying has begun.