You can’t win them all. Matt Harrison, who has been good more often than not, struggled in the first two innings and the Rangers failed to get the sweep. Much like David Price two nights before, it was a bad game against a good offense. That’s all it was. Don’t look an further than that. It was a bad game after Harrison almost no-hit the Twins in his last start. It happens, especially at The Ballpark.
The Rangers offense tried to come back from the 6-0 deficit with homeruns from Josh Hamilton and Mitch Moreland but couldn’t come all the way back against the Rays bullpen that had an ERA of 0.99 in August coming into last night’s game. It feels weird to say this against a rotation as good as the Rays have but you have to get after the starters as that is your best chance to win. The bullpen is playing that well right now and they have guys that can get left-handed hitters and right-handed hitters out.
Despite the loss, it was a series win against a potential playoff team which is positive for the Rangers as they get set for the Cleveland Indians starting on Friday right before the rosters expand on Saturday. The biggest hole right now in the Rangers lineup is because of the injury to Mike Napoli. When Geovany Soto is out of the lineup, right now they go to Luis Martinez who is just not a major league-caliber hitter. It almost makes you pine for Yorvit Torrealba. Almost.
Back to Harrison for a second. Yes, he allowed multiple homeruns, and yes one of them was to Elliot Johnson but like I said, it happens at The Ballpark. Some nights, the ball just finds a way out of the ballpark. That doesn’t mean Harrison should sit in the playoffs against the Rays (if it comes to that) like whispers suggested on Twitter. It was just a bad game. The Rays offense is good, and one night after being shutout, they got off to a quick start. People forget because the Rays have been the victims of so many no-hitters or perfect games that their offense is still good and believe it or not, they have been a playoff team for the same amount of time as the Rangers. That doesn’t happen if you are a bad offensive team. They aren’t great or all household names (see: Johnson) but they are bound to put it together from game to game.