The Rangers bullpen is like that arcade game Whac-A-Mole. You never know where the trouble is going to pop up. All you can do is try to hit it over the head before it does. Or sit back and watch the opposing batters hit balls over everyone’s heads.
One game a particular reliever is lights out. The next game, he’s a train wreck.
That is the nature of bullpens. After all, a bullpen guy is, by nature, a pitcher not good enough to be a starter. Otherwise, he’d be a starter, earning starter money.
So, when you have a philosophy that dictates your starters do not go deep into games, you have to live with the consequence of second-tier pitchers getting a lion’s share of the critical innings. Stack that up from game to game and you have a lot of relief pitchers throwing a lot of innings.
You get tired arms and wild arms.
A bullpen can be counted on only so much. An overworked one, even less.
Tony Barnett came into the game in the ninth and couldn’t find the strike zone if he had a GPS. The result was a single and two walks in a row, and another Rangers walk off loss, their fifth of the year.
“I don’t look at those numbers,” Jeff Banister said after another walk off loss, his team’s fifth.
After all, Banister is too busy looking at yet another relief pitcher meltdown rearing its ugly head for the fifth time.
He pleads the fifth.
Derek Holland (3-1, 2.48) vs. J. A. Happ (3-0, 2.76)
Game time: 6:07