The nine-game road trip started last night, and trip is the operative word. It was a trip down bad memory lane. A lot of April showed up last night.
Inconsistent starting pitching. The inability to take advantage of runners on. Sloppy defense.
It all added up to another loss, this one to the Boston Red Sox, 4-3.
The Rangers had runners in scoring position in the first, in the second, in the third, in the fourth, to no avail.
Kyle Blanks left two stranded in the first by striking out.
Delino DeShields left a runner at second in the second by striking out.
Adrian Beltre left a runner at second in the third by popping out to center.
And DeShields struck again, or rather struck out again, in the fourth, leaving two more on.
But the biggest blows didn’t come at the plate, they came in the infield. From Elvis Andrus. As per usual.
After David Ortiz hit a home run to put the Red Sox up 3-0 with one out in the bottom of the fifth, Hanley Ramirez hit a gapper that Choo cut off, then made such a strong throw, he had him out at second, trying to stretch it into a double, by five steps.
The ball beat Hanley Ramirez to second easily. Only problem is, Elvis missed the tag. He tagged the ground first, but tagging the ground near the runner is not considered an out in modern baseball. Then he swiped at Hanley and missed him. Then he tagged him, finally, as Hanley’s foot fit the base. An out turned into a double.
The throw beat Ramirez by so much that Andrus could have done his taxes, re-seeded his lawn, fixed his transmission, and birthed a baby in the time he caught the ball and the time he missed the tag. Then, an out later, Mike Napoli hit an easy grounder to Andrus who misplayed it, allowing the fourth, and ultimately the eventual losing run, to score.
The official scorer didn’t’ call it an error, even if the Rangers TV announcers said Andrus would have easily gotten Napoli if he had fielded the ball cleanly, even if over on the radio, Eric Nadel concurred, and even if in the dugout, Jeff Banister agreed, saying it was a play that should have been made.
The error that wasn’t did the Rangers in, allowing a hobbling Hanley Ramirez to score, putting the Red Sox ahead 4-0 in the game.
Two plays that should have been made, that would have been outs, that would have kept a run from scoring, that would have allowed the Rangers to tie rather than lose by one, that weren’t made. Neither was counted as an error. But the run it allowed to score was counted as a run.
With Phil Klein getting a start tonight in place of Ross Detwiler, it will take a bit of good fortune on Texas’s part to not start 0-2 on this nine-game roader.
The trip started with a stumble. Let’s hope they don’t fall flat on their faces.