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ST28: Rangers lose again, this time to Cubs on Saturday

For all the excitement of a title defense the 2011 season brings, we’re certainly not going into it on a high note. Our record at this point is 11-16-1. Not exactly beating the doors down of spring training success, that’s for sure. Yeah, a lot is made out of spring training records, we all know the standard lines regarding “don’t worry about it”. But you can’t tell me that our pitching isn’t a little bit worrying. From the bad lines to the small nagging injuries? It just “feels” like 1997 at this moment. May not turn out that way, and it could really be nothing. But I remember the disappointment that the 1997 season was the year after we first got to the playoffs. I don’t want 2011 to be 1997 all over again.
What set me off there was the fact that this was billed as the final spring training start for CJ Wilson before he pitches this coming Friday on the home opener. He came out of the game after the second inning, and tossed in the bullpen. Why? Tight hamstring. That is NOT what you want to hear out of your opening day starter right at the end of the season. A lot was made afterwards about “precautionary”, and “no big deal”, but man.. HAMMY and opening day starter less than a week before the season starts leads bloggers to write what I wrote in the first paragraph! BAH!
That’s the biggest point of this game, except for the Cubs pitching. It was bloody awful in the first inning. We batted around, scored five runs, and would have kept going, if the third out wasn’t made on a baserunning blunder by Andres Blanco – who overran first too far, and then was picked off. We were just pounding the Cubs starter (Andrew Cashner) in the first.
However, after the first, we got virtually nothing. Without breaking out the scorecard, I believe we faced just one batter over the minimum after the first inning, with something like 14 or 15 batters in a row or something along those lines. Cashner ended up going five innings total. After the shellacking in the first, I was quite stunned he went back out. Let alone performed the way he did. Hats off to the Cubs pen.
Nelson Cruz and Endy Chavez had doubles in the first, and Mitch Moreland had a two run home run. But yeah. All in the first. Not going to win that way, generally.