A sweep, and not the good kind.
- Derek Holland started today's game, and after getting behind to hitters early, seemed to settle in nicely for awhile. As is always the concern with Holland, the wheels fell off in the 5th inning. He suddenly couldn't command his pitches, struggling to throw strikes, and when he did, they were left hanging up in the zone. It feels like we've been waiting on Holland to consistently be a good pitcher for a long time, and at this point, it's probably time to just accept that he is what he is. He has good outings, bad outings, and then others that are a mix of both. That's just who he is. Holland ended up giving up 3 earned runs on 5 hits, 3 walks, and 3 strikeouts.
- Nomar Mazara continues to impress, as he hit a first-inning home run. In the end, that was the entirety of the run-scoring for the Rangers on the day.
- The reason for that was an inability to drive runners in. Many will point to the Rangers struggling with runners in scoring position, something I've long contended isn't a repeatable skill. That is, saying a team is terrible with RISP doesn't mean they'll be so tomorrow, next week, or even next year. However, the biggest problem in this area right now is Prince Fielder. It isn't that he's struggling with RISP. He's just struggling, period. Early on in the season, some of his outs produced run-scoring, which somewhat masked his inefficiencies, but now, Prince just doesn't even look like a serviceable hitter. He's pressing, chasing pitches all over the place, and when he is making contact, it's very weak. It's not popular among many Rangers fans to talk about Prince in such a manner, but he's nowhere close to the hitter he was even three years ago. I'm not so sure the Rangers shouldn't drop him in the order until (and if) he's able to show he can actually start hitting the ball and getting on base at a consistent rate.
- Moreland was another guy that struggled today in run-scoring opportunities. In the top of the 8th inning, he had a chance to drive some runs home, but instead struck out. He now has 22 strikeouts on the year, and his 33.3% strikeout rate is alarming after 66 plate appearances. Moreland had a career season last year, but it's looking more likely that it was an aberration, not the new norm.
- Chicago managed to plate an insurance run in the bottom of the 8th inning to give us the game's final margin of 4-1. Texas, after sweeping a three-game series from Houston last week, has now been swept themselves on the road in Chicago. It's not time to panic, by any means, but it's irritating for Rangers fans, for sure.