This, Ranger Fans, Was Almost Really Bad
The Rangers are a bumbling, stumbling 1-3 after the first turn in the rotation. Unfortunately, many of the things I said in preseason seem to be true, with one or two surprises so far this season.
Kevin Millwood: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
Vicente Padilla: 4.2 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 1 K
Brandon McCarthy: 6 IP, 10 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
Robinson Tejeda: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
(Composite ERA: 4.76)
I'm not going to judge starters on one outing. However, let's rid ourselves of any potential talk as it relates to these four guys. This is Millwood's third season in the AL. It's Padilla's second in the AL and both his and Millwood's second on the Rangers. It's McCarthy's second full season in the majors and Texas traded LEFTY John Danks believing McCarthy is ready now. Tejeda has spent parts of the last two seasons in the majors. So no potential talk for these guys.
That being said, only Padilla was bad, which I don't expect Padilla to be bad on a regular basis. And all but Tejeda struggled in the first inning of their first start so we'll give a minor pass this time around. If you remove McCarthy's first inning, he and Tejeda combined to go twelve innings with only nine hits and one earned run. That's something to be excited about. And if Jamey Wright flames out, then the Kam Loe, the rightful fifth starter, will get his shot.
On a side note, Jon Daniels has now traded John Danks, Ricardo Rodriguez, and David Dellucci and received Vicente Padilla, Robinson Tejeda, and Brandon McCarthy in return. (Not to mention their backup catcher) I'd say that's an overall upgrade. It's that Chris Young (plus others) for Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka trade that hurts the rotation right now. (But what would the Rangers do without Otsuka right now?)
The relievers combined for three earned runs in ten innings. Perhaps our concerns about the bullpen depth being mythical were a little overstated. After all, this is a very good bullpen right now. And you have to like how Ron Washington was able to calm Joaquin Benoit in the eighth. Perhaps, he has the feel for the game Buck Showalter always thought he had. this has a chance to grow into a great bullpen if Eric Gagne comes back at full strength and Wes Littleton and Frank Francisco can right themselves at AAA.
Michael Young and Mark Teixiera will right themselves at the plate. They always do. Hank Blalock will be a question mark. Always is. Ian Kinsler continues to grow in a mighty way and Nelson Cruz has to adapt to the majors. I fully expect Sammy Sosa and Brad Wilkerson to continue to struggle. Fine by me. Means we're four games closer to Jason Botts getting the shot he earned a long time ago if you ask me. But I did not expect Frank Catalanotto to start the season with a four-game 0-fer. And his presence in left field allowed the Angels to score two uncontested runs in the opener on shallow singles. So that's a surprise as is the Rangers poor defensive effort in the early going. Those two things have to right themselves to stay afloat. As we saw, the Angels have too much pitching and offense to keep pace with so many holes.
So as the season shakes out, it is hard to imagine this team being playoff bound. Even if they're close, their minor league depth is so thin at this point they can't afford to trade what talent they have to add pieces at the deadline. So on we go, Ranger fans, continuing to look to the future with a team boasting the 21st ranked payroll in all of baseball. (11th in the AL)