Gut punch. 52 comments

Crew chief Sam Holbrook tosses an irate Jeff Banister out of the game after a balk call that cost his team a victory.


You have to give the Rangers credit. At least they are finding inventive ways to lose ball games.

After leaving a franchise-record seventeen runners on base to lose Saturday’s game, a balk that was so elusive neither the home plate or first base umpires saw it did in the Rangers on Sunday.

And the end result is the Rangers were swept away in four games by the Houston Astros.

It was a frustrating, lost weekend and the ideal punctuation to a frustrating, lost season.

Yesterday’s game, though, was a gut punch. A game in which they fought back from two deficits, only to have an uncharacteristically bad inning from Keona Kela unravel with a balk that scored the game-deciding run. In even weirder fashion, no umpire called it until Astros manager A. J. Hinche came storming out of the dugout to point it out. They conferred, agreed Kela didn’t come to a pause, called a balk, and the winning run waltzed home.

Jeff Banister, of course, went ballistic with the umpires and was quickly asked to leave the game. But who he should go ballistic with is his general manager for the steaming heap of a rotation he dropped in his lap.

The Rangers offense was once again put in the position of having to overcome another Matt Moore crash and burn. In a season of dreadful starts, this may have been his worst yet.

From the first pitch, he was throwing batting practice to the Astros. All six Astros batters crushed the ball off him in the first, but the last one of those rockets turned into a double play, so the Astros scored just two runs.

Nine of the first fifteen batters he faced reached. He left after three dumpster fire innings down 6-2, but the Rangers were facing an Astro pitcher who leads the league in losses and they were able to undo Matt Moore, tie the game off Dallas Keuchel, re-tie in the bottom of the eighth 7-7, only to watch Kela melt down in the top of the ninth and allow the go-ahead run to score in the top of the ninth.

Matt Moore’s ERA is now 7.88. And with Doug Fister going on the D.L. to join Martin Perez, the Rangers roster is so threadbare, they have no choice but to keep letting Matt Moore get his teeth kicked in.

There is simply no quality pitching anywhere in the system. And that is all on the general manager. Rather than sign or trade for any in the off-season, Jon Daniels tossed this putrid salad of a rotation.

Don’t expect reinforcements. There are none coming because there are none.

Since Matt Moore has to be run out there every fifth day, the Rangers get sixteen hits, score seven runs, go 4-for-10 with runners in scoring position, and still lose.

But look on the bright side, the Rangers have a new batting practice pitcher. They just have to get him to quit pitching BP to the other team.