An unsuccessful road trip ends tomorrow.
As frustrating as it was seeing Nick Martinez get shelled in an 11-1 Rangers loss on Wednesday night, it's little more than a footnote during a frustratingly winnable road trip through Seattle and Minnesota that ultimately wasn't.
Twice against the Mariners the Rangers coughed up two-run leads; the first when Cole Hamels was on the mound, then again on Sunday when Texas failed to capitalize on Felix Hernandez. The only game the club won in Seattle came by way of some seriously questionable bullpen management from Jeff Banister, where the team ended up scoring 8 runs in the 11th inning. The Rangers could have swept the Mariners about as easily as they themselves could have been swept, and I'm not able to write that very often.
The Minnesota series began as an extension of what transpired in Seattle: Texas held a 2-0 lead seemingly the entire game, then in the bottom of the 8th, the wheels fell off. Jake Diekman, who is apparently the team's de facto 8th inning guy, had no control, giving up a walk, two doubles, and one near-HR that required an excellent running catch from Delino DeShields.
More damning, Jeff Banister left Diekman in -- citing reverse splits -- to face rookie masher Miguel Sano, a righty. I'm not the guy who's going to question the manager who I think is doing a great job in his first season, but if anything has been exposed over the last week and a half, really since taking Martin Perez out having thrown only 80 pitches in a dominant effort against the Giants, it's that Banister is quite amateur at the whole bullpen management thing.
Tomorrow Chi-Chi Gonzalez spot starts in place of Cole Hamels, as the Rangers attempt to salvage a series against a team they are competing against on the fringes of the AL Wild Card race.