A funny thing happened during yesterday’s Labor Day game between the Rangers and the Mariners. A spring training game broke out.
Suddenly it was as if we were back in Surprise, Arizona, once again.
Your starter goes two innings.
Then you bring in a steady parade of pitchers who don’t belong in a Rangers uniform.
Then you empty your bench, give all your prospects a chance to play.
Then you forego the DH so you can get more guys some at-bats.
Only, it wasn’t a spring training game. It was just a curious decision to throw in the towel down only 7-5.
Cole Hamels was awful from the very beginning, giving up five in the first and two in the second. He left with his team behind 7-0.
But it was just the second inning. And the Rangers had one thing going in their favor. The Rangers offense.
Next thing you know, the Rangers offense scored five off Felix Hernandez.
And it was a game once again.
Until it wasn’t.
Until, for some reason, it was declared a spring training game.
That’s the downside of the September call-ups. It’s as if Banister has some fresh new one-dollar bills burning a hole in his pocket and just has to spend them. So out comes the parade of minor league relievers.
The upside of September call-ups comes today.
Because, unfortunately, the Rangers are going to need plenty of bullpen arms for tonight’s game, and more. After two consecutive starters who made an early exit—Darvish going only four innings and Hamels not even getting through two—the Rangers send bullpen drainer Martin Perez to the mound tonight.
When Perez pitches on the road, the bullpen is on speed dial.
This season, Perez is 1-8 away from Arlington, with a bloated ERA of 6.23. His career numbers aren’t much better: 10-18, ERA of 5.00.
So yesterday after Banister ran out the B-team of Claudio, Mendez. Leclerc, Alvarez, now he has to cover the innings Perez will be unable to go.
With Martin in the mound on the road, it’s doubtful there will be many surprises.
Martin Perez (9-10, 4.30) vs. James Paxton (4-5, 3.83)
Game time: 9:10