The good news for the Texas Rangers is that only two more games remain on the 2016 schedule against the Chicago White Sox. The bad news is that’s two more good chances to lose.
The White Sox are good, with good pitching and a lineup that has some firepower. They have been particularly good against the Rangers, beating them all four times so far this season.
No. 4 came Monday. It was the second time that the White Sox beat the Rangers in extra innings. It was a good, eventful game, despite the winning margin.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from an 8-4 loss Monday in 12 innings.
1. The Rangers trailed 1-0, 2-0, 2-1, 3-1 and 4-3 Monday night before the White Sox put them away in the 12th inning. In a game that close, there are always going to be plays the losing team wishes had gone differently.
The Rangers could point to a few, beginning with the first play of the game.
Delino DeShields appeared to have caught Adam Eaton’s deep drive to center, giving it a little leap just before the wall as the ball went into his glove. But contact with the ball jarred the ball loose, and Eaton wound up with a triple.
Eaton scored a batter later.
Nine innings later the Rangers had runners at the corners with one out and Mitch Moreland up. The infield was in. Moreland needed to hit a flyball, and Ian Desmond at first could have tried to steal second although a left-hander was on the mound.
Moreland ended up hitting a grounder right to second baseman Brett Lawrie, who turned a threat-killing, game-saving double play to end the 10th.
The Rangers caught a break in the eighth, tying the game on a White Sox outfield misstep, but had the wall been kinder to DeShields, that would have been the go-ahead run.
The end result was a loss in extra innings, a loss that left the Rangers 0-7 in games decided in a team’s final at-bat. That’s a staggering statistic only 33 games into the season.
2. Quick: Name three MLB umpires. Mine are Joe West, Angel Hernandez and Bob Davidson. Name two more. Mine: Laz Diaz and Ron Kulpa.
What do they all have in common? They stink and can often be found in the middle of an argument or ejection.
It’s not their bad calls that make them known in profession when it’s best if no one knows your ame, though that certainly doesn’t help, but their itchy trigger fingers/short fuses in the aftermath of a bad call. I was going to add rabbit ears, but a deaf man could probably hear the things that are yelled their way.
Diaz wanted the spotlight again Monday only days after getting Houston outfielder Carlos Gomez all lathered up and ejected. Diaz gave Melky Cabrera his first career ejection in his 12th big-league season — 12th! — and then missed a third strike in the ninth inning that led to an Alex Avila single and led to manager Jeff Banister getting ejected by Diaz.
Diaz’s missed call on Shawn Tolleson’s 2-2 pitch to Avila did not cost the Rangers the game Monday. It didn’t help, as the White Sox took a 4-3 lead on the next batter.
“I threw a 2-2 changeup up in the strike zone,” Tolleson said. “He called it a ball. I’m a competitor. I’m out there pitching. I want the strike call there.”
Diaz’s ejection of Cabrera actually helped the Rangers tie game in the eighth as Cabrera’s replacement, Jerry Sands, misplayed a Desmond flyball into a two-out game-tying RBI double.
Every umpire, even the good ones, miss calls, but fans only know the names of the bad, hot-tempered umps.
The good news for the bad ones is they have a good union backing them. They are reviewed throughout a season, and even the umpires who make the most errant calls are still very good.
Only in rare instances are umpires publicly admonished for their behavior. That has needed to change for years now.
3. Todd Frazier entered the game in a 3-for-35 slump that reached 3-for-37 before he reached for a Colby Lewis slider and flipped it just inside the foul pole in left field for a home run. Frazier then went RBI single, single, grand slam.
Maybe Prince Fielder just needs one swing like Frazier’s against Lewis to get going.
Lewis, on the other hand, doesn’t need anything to get going. He posted his team-best sixth quality start, allowing two runs in seven innings. He went seven for the third consecutive start.
He said that he feels really good physically, the result of cycling away the pounds in the off-season as he recovered from knee surgery. A healthy knee is helping ton, too.
It’s only seven starts, but once again he is looking like a free-agent bargain for the Rangers, which is what he’s been since coming back from Japan. Lewis is pitching on a one-year contract for $6 million.
It’s only seven starts, but once again he is looking like he is going to force the Rangers to make a tough off-season decision.