G4: Angels beat Rangers, 8-4

First off, what’s with these damned red clickers that are all over the ballpark? If you go to the ballpark and you have one of these things, and you’re reading this, tell me. WHY? They’re the most annoying thing I’ve ever heard. It sounds like the ballpark has been invaded by crickets, and they friggin annoying as all hell. I complained to the customer relations people, and they said it was a promotion from the Ft. Worth newspaper. Whomever there thought of this should have a bullet in his head. This is the stupidest thing I have ever seen, and the most annoying thing at the ballpark in all my time here. Period.
This was the first of my 13 Ranger mini plan ticket games, and already two two regular season games I’ve gone to (I was at the pre season game vs. the Astros, too) have been losses, both with a home run by the first batter. Chuck Finley beat the Rangers for the first time in 5 years, and in the second regular season game I’ve already been to this season, the first batter of the game hit a home run off Ranger pitching. Ugh. I didn’t really have a good feeling about Burkett walking into the park, and I know he can pitch, but he seems to have a harder and harder time getting it together. Of course, Palmiero’s home run (no, not that Palmiero) didn’t help the feeling. Speaking of Home runs, there were a total of three by the Disney Angels (the other two being Todd Greene, and Ranger killer Tim Salmon). Salmon’s almost wasn’t a Home Run, as Roberto Kelly missed catching it off the wall by inches. It ws a helluva try, and it bounced on top of the wall, and went up several rows of seats. However, Roberto Kelly got himself picked off second base back in the second inning, or we might have got some more more runs there, too.
When Esteban Loaiza (anyone notice Warren Morris is tearing it up early for the Pirates) came in, I thought “Oh god”. However, he actually pitched good – he came in with two outs in the third, and allowed only one hit (a double to Sheets) to the first eleven batters he faced (two 1-2-3 innings). Then in the seventh, it fell apart, with a single, a double, and a home run. He did finish the seventh, but was relieved in the eighth. Loaiza was hit in the leg by a batted ball, I don’t know if that had anything to do with his breakdown or not. I don’t think so, but still… Mike Munoz came on and pitched the final two innings, giving up the only walk by the Rangers of the night in the 8th, and a double in the 9th, but no damage done there. So far this season, I like our pickups pitching wise.
Our hitting was fairly decent, if not earth shattering. Jon Shave continued his six year hitting streak last night by getting a single in the third (he was on base in the second when Kelly was picked off) – I believe that makes a 10 game Ranger hitting streak for Shave now. Not counting the two pinch hitters in the bottom of the ninth (Alicea for Shave, & Goodwin for Kelly), everyone on the team had some hits except for Raffy & Stevens, who both went ofers. The best offensive player was Pudge, with a single, a stolen base, an RBI, a run scored (himself) on his solo home run in the 5th. Juan had an RBI, but didn’t seem rather impressive tonight.
We lost the first game to the Tigers then won the other two. If we win the final 3 of 4 against the Disney Angels, then I’ll overlook tonight, which seemed to be Burkett’s fault.
Commentary by Jim Meeks:
Call me Bill James, but anytime your starting pitcher gives up a homer to the first guy he faces, he’s going to be in major doo-doo the rest of the game.
Or at least, so far has been the case this young season for the Rangers’ hurlers.
John Burkett, coming off a bad Grapefruit Season, pitched like he was launching rockets at Cape Canaveral Friday as he gave up two balls that cleared the fence and 2 doubles. The Rangers and Burkett lost to the hated Angels, 8 to 4.
Burkett began the game by giving up a home run to Orlando Palmeiro. Palmeiro’s homer was only the third home run he’s ever had, including all his years in the Minor Leagues. To allow a homer to this guy is like allowing your 80 year-old grandmother to bust out a can of whoop-ass on you. The Rangers’ pitchers have given up more home runs this season – 8 – than they have walked hitters – 7.
Burkett pitched like he did most of last year and as he did in the spring. He finished his short outing giving up – hold your nose – 5 earned runs in 2 and one-third innings.
And you knew Johnny Oates thought the game was out of reach in the 3rd inning when he summoned the Rangers’ version of Theodore Kazynsky in from the bullpen. Yes, that wacky unibomber himself, Esteban Loaiza.
Loaiza actually surprised, at least for a while. He came into the game with 2 outs in the 2nd and pitched four plus innings. No damage done until the 7th, when the wheels fell off his uniwagon.
Offensively, the Rangers knocked around “Mr. California”, Chuck Finley pretty good. Finley gave up 2 homers in his 6 innings of duty, one to the red hot Todd Zeile and the other to Ivan Rodriguez. Every starter in the Rangers’ lineup managed a hit Friday night – except Rafael Palmeiro, the lone Ranger with a history of killing Finley. The Rangers managed a total 9 hits off of him in 6 innings, but it wasn’t enough.
The Rangers had their chances to get even, but saw them go up in smoke. In the first, the Rangers had 2 on and 1 out, only to have Juan Gonzalez bounce into an inning-ending double dip. In the 3rd, they scored a run but wound up stranding runners at 2nd and 3rd.
Don’t blame the offense though. Blame John Burkett.