It was awful. Then it was fun. Despite the result, it was mostly fun.
Unfortunately for the Rangers, they were playing catch-up for most of the evening due to Drew Smyly getting the start. Smyly gave up 4 runs in the 1st inning, another in the 2nd, and by the time his line was closed for the evening, he’d been tagged for 7 (all earned) on 8 hits, 2 walks, and only 2 strikeouts while giving up 3 home runs.
It marked the 7th time in 10 starts that Smyly has failed to even go 5 innings, and he’s only managed to go more than that one time. Keep in mind, two of those “starts” came pitching behind an opener, so for our purposes, I’m including them.
The bullpen wasn’t much better, with David Carpenter giving up two runs, Shelby Miller giving up two runs, and Brett Martin giving up one.
By the time the Rangers were down 11-4 in the top of the 7th inning, I figured all bullpen options would be available, to include Kyle Dowdy. Then I remembered that Howdy Dowdy was placed on the IL today with a sudden elbow injury despite having not pitched in a game since May 26, and May 18 before that. I suppose when an organization is incredibly determined to keep a Rule 5 guy…
The offense came alive late, scoring six runs in the bottom of the 9th, helped by the fact that the Orioles tossed the ball around for four errors on the night. It was perhaps the first time this season I’ve seen Hunter Pence look a bit out of sorts at the plate, as he appeared to be pulling his front shoulder back while trying to hit the outside pitch. It’s one game, but something I noticed nonetheless.
Rougned Odor’s wRC+ now stands at 39 on the season, going down a tick tonight despite tallying a hit (on a bad swing, no less). It certainly doesn’t look like he’s anywhere close to turning that invisible corner.
All told, an offense that was good enough to beat the worst team in baseball, but a pitching staff that appeared set on making it an uphill battle on the way to a 12-11 loss.
Chris Woodward said after the game that he intends to keep Drew Smyly in the starting rotation. I’m not sure what aspects of Smyly’s performance thus far in 2019 lend confidence in him having a roster spot, much less a starting role, but here we are. I get that you have to have someone to replace him with, but I’m not sure how much longer you can just hurtle him at the proverbial wall and watch him fail.
They’ll give it another shot tomorrow evening (assuming there isn’t a rainout), with Mike Minor taking his turn on the mound.