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G39: Rangers drop in 10 to Rays, 4-3

I had to time shift the game due to some family duties, but I really wanted to see this game. For some reason I felt something good was going to come out of Brandon McCarthy. Not that I was thinking no hitter, or something like that, but I just had a feeling he was going to do well. So I broke out my Palm, and decided to score the game. I was also curious to see how it would come off on TV. It actually kind of reminded me for some reason of the park that the Corpus Christi Hooks play in. As the game started, it felt like I was watching a minor league game. The camera angles were off – it took me a couple of innings to get a feel for what would be called a ball and a strike because they weren’t the usual camera angles I’m used to seeing. Apparently I’m not the only person who thought that, Richard Durrett wrote about that over on the DMN Baseball blog, too.
McCarthy had a decent line overall, but seemed a bit shaky in the second and third innings where he gave up the three runs the Rays got. Walks didn’t help – they never do. In all, Brandon went 6 innings, giving up 3ER on 6H & 3BB. He did strike out seven though, which was a good thing – and no home runs, either. Since I was scoring, I was paying attention to pitch count, and it did seem a tad high (110 over 6 innings). Still, after the horror that were some of his early starts, this was a decent outing.
Benoit seems to have solidified himself as an important part of our bullpen after several shaky years there of not even knowing if he’d be on the team – this is good, it’s nice to have a consistent link backwards like that with Jack. I admit I was one of the people calling for his head a few years ago, but I really like the fact a homegrown guy has gotten through it and found a place where he can be productive.
Our late inning pitching dodged a bullet once, but couldn’t dodge the same one twice. When you have to intentionally load the bases for a force out at home, it’s never good. We got out of that in the bottom of the ninth with Otsuka on the mound, but we had to do it a second time with Feldman on the mount in the bottom of the 10th, and that one didn’t work. Actually, Feldman’s would have been harder, as it was bases loaded, nobody out. So we lost that game. Unfortunately, it seems to be a common occurrence on the road – what are we, something like 5-100 as the visiting team this year already?
Offensively, we had only 7 hits, and they were scattered. Only person with more than one was Hank Blalock – who also had a solo home run in the game. Brad Wilkerson had a double, but had to come out of the game with.. wait for it… a gimpy hamstring. We actually had more extra base (3 2B, 1HR) hits than singles, which doesn’t usually happen. Outside of Hammer’s home run, the other two runs we got were on sac flies.
And speaking of hamstrings, Tampa Bay lost Rocco Baldelli to that, we lost Brad Wilkerson. Seems there’s a boatload of hamstring injuries around baseball this year. That wouldn’t be from guys who aren’t taking steroids, would it? ;) Nah, I don’t really mean that, but there are an awful lot of them. Seems odd.