It’s easy sometimes to think the sky is falling in baseball. One day it seems as if pitchers can’t get anybody out and batters can’t buy a base.
It’s been that sort of weekend for the Texas Rangers in split squad games in San Antonio and Surprise.
Pitchers with hopes of filling major roles on the Rangers’ depleted staff took their assorted lumps after allowing a combined 23 runs in two losses Saturday. There were a few bright spots, including young reliever Keone Kela on Friday night at the Alamodome, and Colby Lewis, who battled through several tough innings to keep the Rangers close in Surprise on Saturday.
Others auditioning for roles in the rotation and in the bullpen, however, will hope for retakes. One veteran, Jamey Wright, who the Rangers are hoping can fill an integral bullpen role, failed to retire any of the seven Brewers he faced at Surprise Stadium on Saturday. He allowed six runs on five hits and two walks.
Before Wright’s implosion, left-handed specialist-in-waiting Joe Beimel was tagged for three runs on three hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning. He’s allowed 14 runs in three innings this spring.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this. It’s crazy,” said Beimel, who failed to get left-hitting Gerardo Parra, who singled in a run, and then allowed left-hitting Adam Lind to drive in another with a roped sacrifice fly to center. “Every ball is either falling in, [or I’m] not making any pitches, and just pretty bad luck on top of it. Kind of at a loss for words now.”
Even Tanner Scheppers, making his first appearance in an A game this spring, allowed two hits in his lone inning of work.
Meanwhile, Anthony Ranaudo, who is vying to earn a spot in the rotation, was getting roughed up by the Dodgers in San Antonio on Saturday afternoon. Los Angeles scored four runs on six hits, including three home runs, and two walks in four innings.
“Although they’re hitting fly balls to right [275 feet] that go out of the ballpark it’s still maybe not the pitches you want to throw in those situations,” Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux said. “It’s the learning curve we have between these guys who are new to us and we’re new to them.”
It was Ranaudo’s first A game appearance since leaving a March 12 start after two innings with arm discomfort.
Lewis battled the Brewers over five innings, throwing a spring-high 70 pitches. He allowed three runs on eight hits and a walk with one strikeout. All three runs came in the first two innings before Lewis settled down. He pitched around a one-out triple in the third and forced two popouts with the bases loaded in the fourth. He worked a perfect fifth and said he felt strong enough to return for another inning or two.
“It felt like I checked in for work, that’s for sure,” Lewis said. “After the first couple innings I felt like I was able to keep the ball down a little bit better and was able to put up some zeroes in some tough spots. I felt really good, like I could have gone back out.”
Lewis will get a chance to go back out. Others, including Beimel, are running out of time to earn a spot on the roster.
“Something is going happen soon. I’ve got to get a few outs,” Beimel said. “2008 was probably my worst spring until this year and it was one of my best [regular] seasons. So maybe the luck will start turning in my favor.”
Correspondent Anthony Andro contributed to this