What We Learned Against Chicago

This is perhaps the first series I've been disappointed in the Rangers in over a month now. It's almost not fair at this point to be disappointed. The Rangers have their second best record at the halfway point in a season in franchise history, after all. They're on pace for 96 wins. They're offensively one of the top 5 teams in baseball. And their bullpen is in the top 3. There is just so much to like about the Rangers right now. And yet, losing a series against a marginal team at home doesn't sit right. I know, given the match-ups, winning one more game in this series would have been tough, but, with winning, that becomes the expectation to win.

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  • Friday's game might have been the worst game in terms of execution the Rangers have played all season. The game against the Astros that the Rangers lost to end the streak might be a close second, but Friday night was just failure after failure. Coming off a hotly contested series in Anaheim and then getting off of the plane in the small hours of the morning while knowing they had to play another baseball game just about 12 hours later was already going to be a daunting task. Then having to wait out a 2 1/2 hour rain delay and play in less than perfect conditions contributed to the perfect storm of nightmare baseball and equaled a Little League performance.
  • Note to opponents: Hit the ball to third base and you'll do damage against the Rangers.
  • God bless Tommy Hunter. He actually looks physically like a guy who is giving his all to the team every time out there. Considering the atrocious game the night before, and facings a three game losing streak and perhaps whispers of danger, Tommy came up huge in a big "mental well-being" game for the Rangers. And more and more, you can envision a rotation three or four years from now with Tommy Hunter in it. I wouldn't mind that one bit.
  • I hate bunts. I hate them more than I hate bologna sandwiches but less than I hate Jay Leno. I hate them a lot, however. I wish the Rangers didn't like them so much.
  • I think the White Sox came to Arlington at the worst possible time for the Rangers. They haven't hit all season but have been amongst the best teams in baseball at pitching. Well, they pitched well, especially the bullpen, but now the bats decided to pick the last few days to get hot. If the bats wake up for Chicago for the remainder of the season, watch out. They could make a run at the AL Central.
  • Even with Bobby Jenks being out for the series, J.J. Putz and Matt Thornton have out-pitched him considerably this season. So the Rangers didn't really catch a breaking missing Jenks, in fact, Putz and Thornton moving up on the leverage chain probably hindered the Ranger's chances of winning. Matt Thornton has especially been great this year. He's been the second best reliever in baseball this season, first in the American League. He's an All-Star and he absolutely deserves it.
  • I don't know what the Rangers can do with Scott Feldman, but frankly, when Holland returns from injury he should be in the rotation, and even if the Rangers don't make a move to acquire another starter, when Harden is healthy again, I would be inclined to give him a shot at the expense of Feldman in the rotation. The scary thing is I'm not so sure Feldman is an upgrade over Dustin Nippert in the role of long relief. Maybe it's time for Feldman to strain a glut and take some time to figure out why his split ain't splitting, his cutter ain't cutting, and his velocity is down this season.

So what did we learn against Chicago?

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Underrated status is fickle.

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