The red-eye flight is a blessing and a curse.
On one hand, it gets a weary sportswriter home without another night in a hotel and an early-morning wake-up call. On the other hand, the weary sportswriter essentially is pulling an all-nighter.
But at least he’s home sooner, and home sounds pretty good right about now.
The Rangers felt the same way Wednesday evening before their charter took flight. Their upcoming homestand will be a test, starting Thursday with Baltimore and continuing next week against Houston.
In between series is the first off day of the season. Everyone — players, coaches, front office, media, fans — could use one.
Here is some Rangers Reaction from an 4-2 loss Wednesday.
1. When does a 4-3 road trip not feel like a success but it really is? When games like Wednesday’s happen.
The Rangers were messy in the field (three errors) and on the bases (two outs). A.J. Griffin walked four, which is four more than he’d like, and though he allowed only three hits and one earned run, he threw 103 pitches and wasn’t allowed to work into the sixth.
The lineup didn’t do much against Taijuan Walker.
It wasn’t the cleanest of games.
Still, it took a two-run walk-off homer on a bad pitch for Seattle to prevent the Rangers from a three-game sweep. The Rangers also lost on a walk-off to open the road trip, and their other loss was a 3-1 defeat to soft-tossing Jered Weaver.
They played well, better than in the season-opening series at Globe Life Park. The bullpen was better, the offense was better, and the rotation continued its solid work.
Losing Robinson Chirinos (fractured right ulna) and Shin-Soo Choo (strained right calf) were minimized by the additions of Nomar Mazara and Brett Nicholas. One player said that Mazara gave the Rangers a shot in the arm, even though they were only a week into the season.
The bottom line is that the Rangers returned home Wednesday night playing better than they were when they left.
I like the way we played. Four and three going home, win a series against a division foe. I like the way we went about it. The offense got going a little bit. We’ll take the 4-3 and go back to work in our ballpark.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister
2. The acquisition of Ian Desmond remains a beloved move by manager Jeff Banister, who continues to gush over the former shortstop’s play in the outfield and continues to believe the lineup has found an impact bat.
Desmond didn’t have his best day Wednesday, committing one of the three errors and looking fairly hapless at the plate. No one needs to tell him that he is off to a slow start offensively.
Banister suggested that perhaps Desmond is pressing a bit after seeing stars like Adrian Beltre and Prince Fielder produce ahead of him. Desmond wants to join that club and make a favorable impression on his new team.
The thinking here and with the Rangers is that he will get on track soon. He works tirelessly to try to make himself a better player. He studies the game. He badly wants to help the Rangers win.
Maybe too badly.
.103 Batting average for Ian Desmond, who went 4 for 39 in the first 10 games
3. Interesting perspective on Yu Darvish was provided Wednesday morning by pitching coach Doug Brocail, who is asking himself if he’s going too easy on Darvish as he tries to return from Tommy John surgery.
Brocail continues to see a pitcher whose offerings during bullpen sessions have been filthy. He sees a pitcher who doesn’t seem to be tiring. All signs point to Darvish being ready sooner than late-May.
The last full week of May remains the target, but Brocail said that Darvish might not need the full allotment of six rehab starts. Brocail said that the three live bullpen sessions, the first of which was Wednesday, are acting as rehab starts, though without the adrenaline factor of a game.
The timeline has been adjusted somewhat and will remain fluid. Darvish’s first rehab start will be either April 27 or 28, with starts to follow every fifth day.
Judging strictly by Brocail’s reaction to what he has seen, it sounds like whenever Darvish comes back, he’s going to be good.
4. The bullpen was tagged with its fourth loss of the season, but the last two have come on an otherwise good day for the relief corps after two miserable games in the opening series.
As they’ve taken their lumps, they haven’t tried to hide from the media. Not that such a reaction is expected, but it’s always reassuring to see a pitcher or player who has had a bad night face questions from the media he doesn’t want to answer.
That’s what pros do.
Jake Diekman was the latest to be faced with a camera, microphones and multiple notebooks. He nailed it. No excuses. Give him the blame. I’m pretty sure he said “sucks” three times.
Sam Dyson and Shawn Tolleson were front and center Thursday night. Tom Wilhelmsen and Tony Barnette were at their lockers after the loss in the second game of the season, and Tolleson was at his the next afternoon.
They are well aware of the preseason expectations that were heaped upon. This is supposed to be one of the best bullpens in baseball. It isn’t after only 10 games, but the relievers still believe they are going to be very good.