The Rangers lost a tough one to Toronto 8-7 on Tuesday night and while the final score may reflect a close game it was far from it. In fact it may be the worst loss of the season and the one that hurts the most.
Neftali Feliz had his worst outing as he allowed four runs on four hits while walking six Blue Jays. He tossed eighty-eight pitches with forty-two of them being balls. He had command issues all night.
I felt really good about this game after Texas plated five runs in the second inning and appeared to be okay without Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre who were nursing day-to-day injuries and were being kept out due to the strain that artificial turf can cause (see Nelson Cruz last season). I began to worry in the bottom of the third when Feliz gave up four runs and cut the Texas lead to 5-4. I'm just hoping that this was nothing more than a bad outing for Feliz and not signs of things to come.
Then with Texas leading 6-4 in the seventh the defense suffered a meltdown with Robbie Ross on the mound. Two errors later the bases were loaded and Ross was pulled. Elvis Andrus broke a 54-game errorless streak and Mike Napoli mishandled a ball hit in front of home plate. Napoli's error was initially ruled a hit but was changed after the game. It was so unlike the Rangers to commit two errors in one inning after having given up only eight all season long. Alexi Ogando allowed all three runners to cross and Texas found itself down 7-6.
Texas did tie it again in the ninth only to see Mike Adams give up a lead-off home run in the bottom of the ninth giving Toronto the win.
The absence of Hamilton and Beltre (who pinch-hit for Craig Gentry in the eighth) really hurts the team as it removes two great bats in key spots of the lineup. And while Texas had extra offensive production from Gentry and Mitch Moreland the night before you cannot count on those two guys night in and night out. Fortunately for Texas neither one of them has been placed on the disabled list and should be available when Texas goes to Cleveland this weekend, with the added benefit of a day off on Thursday.
So here we are with a 17-7 record and plenty more baseball to play. It's still way too early to begin worrying. Tomorrow brings a new day and a new game.
Until next time, I'll see you in the cheap seats!
James Holland is a lifelong fan of baseball and his hometown Texas Rangers. He is also a writer for shutdowninning.com and the senior writer/editor for clawandantlernation.com as well as a member of SABR. You can follow him on Twitter where he waxes poetic about all things baseball @SDIJamesHolland.