April 18, 2017.

The fourth-place Rangers finally put together a good game, beating Oakland 7-0.


At first I thought, you have to feel bad if you are a Texas Rangers starting pitcher and Jeff Banister is your manager. He has so little faith in you that, no matter how well you do your job, he cannot help himself but to replace you in the middle of a dominating performance.

But then I thought, what if that were me? What if my boss expected me to do only 66% of my job? Initially, I would be insulted. Then, I would realize, maybe he isn’t the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree. And letting me go home at two o’clock rather than at five o’clock is something I could live with.

Jeff Banister has a horrible bullpen, and an even worse knowledge of how to use it.

His bullpen has given up leads in embarrassing fashion. Yet, for some reason only he knows and only he can spin into something about forty percent coherent, he took out a starter who was in the middle of the most dominating start of the year in the most crucial time during the game.

It seems ninety is the new one hundred. A.J. Griffin was allowed to throw only 91 pitches. Used to be starters could go a whole game. Then anything over 120 pitches would ruin their arms. Then 100. Now, they fall off at 90.

Thank the baseball gods that the Rangers didn’t do what they have done so many times this young season: They didn’t cough up the lead.

After so many games in which they have blown the kind of leads they had last night against Oakland, finally the Rangers bullpen held tight.