Another game, another unimpressive pitching performance. Today’s game actually had a lot in common with yesterday’s, in that the game was disproportionately affected by a lackluster performance from a Rangers SP. If it had been a quality start out there, the Rangers, backed by a strong offensive performance, would have won. Here are a few observations from the game:
1. Matt Harrison – The second straight poor start out of Harrison. After starting out the season brilliantly, he’s faltered against the Rays, and now the Jays. The only real difference between these last couple starts and his first few is that he appears very hittable, whereas before he was generating mostly weak contact. He is also getting slightly fewer strikeouts, but has managed to limit his walks. I’m not too worried at this point, and I expect him to bounce back next start.
2. Scott Feldman – Feldman didn’t look all that great either. Honestly, between Feliz, Harrison, and Feldman, and looking at a Jay’s group that was clearly hot coming into this series (especially Edwin Encarnacion), its possible we just witnessed more of a confluence of unhelpful circumstances than a real failing of the SP staff.
3. Koji Uehara and Mark Lowe – Last week I wrote about Mark Lowe and Koji Uehara, trying to tease out who would be the optimal choice to pick up some high leverage innings later on this season. Koji looked like the far better choice today, facing the top of the Jays lineup and striking out two and forcing a groundout, while Mark Lowe faced the bottom of the lineup and induced a lineout, flyout and groundout. Not a huge difference, but I still think Koji is the clear choice here, and I’m excited for him to be able to give our high-leverage relievers some downtime.
4. Elvis Andrus – Another terrific day at the plate for Andrus, which included a terrific driven double which scored two runs. I’m very impressed with how he’s looked this season.
5. Brandon Snyder – In his limited plate appearances so far this season, Snyder has been relatively effective. A great, cheap pickup to improve the bench.
Honestly, these last two series losses have been pretty challenging. The pitching is looking vulnerable and the hitting is inconsistent. However, its good to keep in mind that we faced two strong AL East teams, and some good pitching besides. I’m really excited for the upcoming series against Cleveland, where I think the Rangers can find their way back to dominance.