Well, OK, we know we weren’t going 160-2. Bound to lose sometime. But even the loss we had in this game was’t awful. Sometimes there are losses where your team just doesn’t show up, and gets run over. There’s times when you’re bludgeoned to death with too much offense. There’s games where you have 4 or 5 errors and give it away. This loss was like none of those scenarios (or half a dozen other I could name if I felt like it).
Neftali Feliz pitched a complete game loss. While it’s a loss, I believe it’s the first complete game of the season for a Rangers starter. His overall line was pretty darned good. Eight innings pitched, just three hits and four walks with six strikeouts. 119 pitches over 8 innings, which is actually one pitch under what’s generally accepted as good (which is 15 pitches per inning). I suspect the “complete game” he pitched was an attempt to save the bullpen on a day when we played two. Wash has said he’s not a fan of doubleheaders, so with Feliz pitching well, he was left in. I did see Adams & Nathan warming up when we were batting in the top of the 9th, so I suspect Feliz wasn’t going out there unless we scored like six runs or something.
The problem was that Feliz was matched against Justin Verlander. The reigning AL MVP & Cy Young winner. To be honest, before the game started, I thought were going to lose – just because of the Verlander factor. Thing is, Verlander didn’t last as long. Only went six. But was pretty dominant when he was out there. The only run he allowed was unearned.
Still, Feliz looked good, except for a short stretch in the fourth when he appeared to lose focus. The Tigers scored all three of their runs on a hit by pitch, a walk, a single, another walk, another single. There actually was another walk after that, but it didn’t count. Tigers left the bases loaded. Could have been a lot worse. But that inning was the only bad spot for Feliz, and even that wasn’t that bad a of a bad spot.
The Rangers were only down three, which, given our offense is not impossible. Plus, when we got Verlander out of the game, you thought we’d have a shot. And we did. When Verlander was gone, it was 3-1. In the top of the eighth, The Rangers got a run back with a single, walk, single after the first two guys went down quickly. Then in the ninth, we got to Detroit closer Jose Valverde (who has that same kind of “jerk” reaction that Jonathan Papelbon & Joba Chamberlin do when they close a game). Valverde threw 30 pitches, and while he faced only five batters, it felt like a lot more than that. Mitch Moreland walked. Mike Napoli (Pinch hitting for Gentry) was called out on strikes. Ian Kinsler walked. Elvis flied out to left field on a ball that looked like it had trajectory to be a home run, just not enough lift. Then Josh Hamilton struck out swinging on a pitch that is becoming a predictable swing and miss for him much in the same way a slider down and away did in Juan Gonzalez all the time. Josh’s is a hard curve down – way down on his side of the plate.
We ended up leaving the tying and winning runs on base in the 9th – so we didn’t get the job done, but the game was exciting, that’s for sure.
Also, was Joaquin Benoit this slow when he was with Texas? I don’t remember him being that slow to pitch. Over 42 seconds between receiving the ball and pitching at it’s worst.
As Jamey Newberg said on Twitter right after the game, “Don’t mind that loss”. He’s right. You always want to win, but this loss wasn’t as painful, excruciating, or “throw your remote through the TV” annoying as some are.