That game probably irritated me more than it should have.
- Derek Holland got his turn to pitch against the Mariners again, and after a fantastic outing last Sunday, he wasn't nearly as sharp. He allowed 5 runs in 5.0 innings on 5 hits and 2 walks while giving up 3 home runs. On the season, Derek's ERA is now 4.87 with an FIP of 4.80. His xFIP is 5.38. With a K/9 of 5.01 and BB/9 of 2.78, there's just not much room for error. A fantastic defense has been able to bail him out many times, but when he's giving up home runs, there's not much the defense can do. Overall, it's been a disappointing season for Holland.
- Each of the Rangers first three hitters -- Jurickson Profar, Ian Desmond, and Nomar Mazara -- in the lineup had 2-hit nights, as well as Mitch Moreland. Desmond had a home run and Moreland hit two home runs himself. The only other run-scoring play was Ryan Rua's solo home run. The offense was probably good enough to win, but pitching and defense killed the Rangers.
- I found myself once again confused by Jeff Banister's bullpen management. While he's become known as a guy his players love, it's become clear that he's lacking severely in the bullpen usage department. Tom Wilhelmsen came in to work the sixth and seventh innings, which made sense with the Rangers down 5-1 and 5-3 prior to each of those innings. However, by the time the Rangers came to bat in the eighth, it was a 5-4 game, and Banister elected to turn the ball over to Shawn Tolleson.
- Tolleson, for his part, looked exactly like a guy dealing with personal issues will sometimes look. His pitching, on its own, actually wasn't terrible, but everything he did between pitches was awful. He led off the inning with a strikeout of Nelson Cruz, but a wild pitch allowed Cruz to reach safely. When Dae-Ho Lee followed it up with a tailor-made double-play ball, Tolleson bobbled it momentarily, giving him only the play at first and moving Cruz over to second. At that point, Banister elected to have Tolleson intentionally walk Kyle Seager.
- Chris Iannetta singled to left fielder Ryan Rua, who came up throwing. Inexplicably, Tolleson decided to stand somewhere between third base, the mound, and home plate instead of backing up Robinson Chirinos behind the plate. In an attempt to cut off Rua's throw, the ball bounced off of Tolleson and allowed Cruz to score and moved Seager to third.
- As if that weren't enough, Seth Smith hit a sacrifice fly to Ian Desmond in center field, and once again, Tolleson was sort of just roaming around in the infield instead of backing up Chirinos, allowing Iannetta to move over to third.
- In the ninth, Mitch Moreland's second home run of the game gave Texas their fifth run. Of course, had Banister elected to use one of his better relievers in a one-run game, perhaps the home run would have tied the game. Alas, it only made the final margin of 7-5 just a little less painful.
- At the very least, it's fairly safe to assume that Jeff Banister's theory on bullpen usage involves something to the effect of, "We'll use our good relievers with a lead, no matter how large. For every other situation, we'll turn to the other guys." While that sometimes works out (see Wilhelmsen's usage in what wasn't exactly a close game at the time), you'd like to see less hard-riding of guys like Sam Dyson with a five-run advantage while also having them available in close games when you can perhaps count on the offense to score one or two additional runs.
- They'll do it all again tomorrow, with Colby Lewis on the mound.