Texas Rangers

Rangers Reaction: 'Big Sexy' provides only good news for Rangers on lousy day

Bartolo Colon allowed a run in three innings Tuesday in what served as a tuneup for his start Sunday at Houston.
Bartolo Colon allowed a run in three innings Tuesday in what served as a tuneup for his start Sunday at Houston. The Associated Press

I'm not a religion writer, but thank God that one is over.

And God bless the fans who somehow rode it out until, oh, the fourth inning.

God help the ones who stayed to the end.

The fourth is when the game really got out of hand as the Los Angeles Angels took a 9-1 lead over the Texas Rangers. Each Angels batter had three plate appearances after four, and they were 13 for 23 against Martin Perez and Jesse Chavez.

That's a .565 average.

They scored three runs in the first and one in the second, but the thing is, the Rangers could have been in the lead after two innings, because Tyler Skaggs wasn't exactly a young Bartolo Colon for the Angels.

Skaggs needed 68 pitches in the first two innings and had to escape bases-loaded jams in each. He had such lousy control that he needed 93 pitches to complete four innings and managed 21 more in the fifth to hang around long enough for the win.

His arm won't feel like a winner Wednesday morning.

Here's some Rangers Reaction from an 11-1 loss.

1. Let's start with Perez, because that's where it all started to go wrong.

The left-hander allowed three runs on 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings last week at Oakland in a win in his 2018 debut. His encore performance was a stinker: eight runs on nine hits with four walks and 46 balls to only 44 strikes in three-plus innings.

Perez knows as well as anybody that sometimes you eat the bull and sometimes the bull eats you.

The Rangers continue to have only two quality starts this season, and their starting pitcher has failed to log more than five innings in nine of their 13 games. The pitching staff has allowed 70 runs (63 earned) for an ERA of 4.93.

Chavez's right arm might be on the verge of falling off. The long man is fourth on the team in innings pitched after logging three more in relief of Perez.

Next up is Matt Moore, who didn't clear four innings in either of his first two starts. Good thing Thursday is an off day, because the bullpen could be in for another heavy workload in the finale of 14 straight games to open the season.

Back to Perez, who after that one should be caught up to the rest of the starters after not having much of a spring training. Maybe one more start.

But he has said he is ready, rather defiantly, so maybe not. Whatever. It's too early to say whether Perez is going to have a lousy season, the continued roller-coaster ride or whether he will be a dependable member of the rotation.

At this point, Mike Minor might be the most dependable or at least is even with Cole Hamels. It's not Doug Fister, who ...

2. ... was a surprise addition to the disabled list with a right hip strain, but at least that explains why he was pulled Monday after only 82 pitches in five innings.

Neither he nor manager Jeff Banister mentioned the issue after the game when given the chance, hence the surprise.

Fister's temporary demise is Colon's gain. "Big Sexy" will start Sunday at Houston and probably at least once more depending on how the Rangers use the off days April 19 and April 26.

As was pointed out in a thorough, award-worthy news story on the Tuesday injury moves (Rougned Odor hit the DL, too), Colon has not been a novelty act or a clown show or the front office's idea of a joke. The guy is pitching well, knows how to pitch and, with the exception of the first half last season, has been a good pitcher several years running.

It doesn't always take velocity, as many others before Colon have shown. The ability to locate and change speeds is what a pitcher needs most of all, and Colon has both. At 44 years old. Darn near 45.

He allowed one run in three innings in relief of Chavez, and his final out was getting Shohei Ohtani to bounce to second base. Colon was pitching in his first season of pro ball the year Ohtani was born in 1994.

No joke.

The joke is on any Rangers pitcher who can't learn anything from watching him. Judging by how the season is unfolding, just about all of them need to study up.

The season isn't unfolding well for the offense, especially when ...

3. ... the bases have been loaded. The Rangers are 0 for 8 this season with the sacks full, and they missed twice in each of the first two innings Tuesday when one conversion might have altered the course of the game.

The Rangers are also 0 for 8 this season when the opponent scores first.


Their two bases-loaded misses Monday definitely altered the outcome of the 8-3 loss. It was 3-1 when Nomar Mazara and Joey Gallo missed in the fifth inning.

The Rangers are 19-91 this season with runners in scoring position, a palindrome good for a .209 average. That's not good.

The good is that the Rangers are getting hitters on base, or at least that's what they keep telling themselves. At some point, someone is going to deliver with the bases loaded or with a man at third with two outs.

You get the idea.

Before that can happen, though, the hitters might need to clear a potential mental hurdle.

"I believe that the last couple nights playing from behind early, these guys are going up there with the thought process and the idea that they're going to be the guy that gets the run across," manager Jeff Banister said. "I believe their pitchers made quality pitches in those situations, and our guys continue to try to put some things together."

The Rangers still have 149 games to go, but they might want to get this one figured out ASAP.