Kam "Loe" Was "W"right All Along
It's been a good day Ranger fans. Kevin Millwood gave us another strong performance. Kam Loe was rightfully moved into the starting rotation. Eric Gagne looked hella dominant in his first save opportunity. But we'll save that analysis for five days or so from now. Let's review the past few days:
Millwood: 6 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K (W, 1-1)
Padilla: 7 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (L, 0-2)
McCarthy: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K (W, 1-1)
Wright: 2.2 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 1 K (ND, 0-0)
Tejeda: 5 IP, 10 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (W, 1-1)
(Composite Era: 6.41)
This turn started so promising. I feared the worst with Jamey Wright coming and tose fears rang true. Apparently, he has a sore arm and is headed to the 15-day DL. Hate to see a guy go down, even briefly, but it will serve to right a wrong. If Ron Washington has made one mistake in the early going of his first season, it was his failure to run with Kam Loe in the opening roptation from the beginning. At least, with Wright's sore arm, Loe steps into the five hole the next time it comes up: April 21.
The encouraging news was the recovery of Padilla and McCarthy from poor opening starts. The bad news was Tejeda's poor follow up to his mastery of the Red Sox. We are left to wonder if this triumvirate on who the season rests can pitch consistently. But you have to consider the promise both McCarthy and Tejeda have shown to rebound in poor outing's to stretch outings and help the bullpen. Just what Washington wants his starters to do.
Trade follow up: John Danks takes the mound a second time for the White Sox tomorrow. Jon Daniels has to be hoping this trade doesn't come back to bite him. McCarthy appears to have some goods, but he made the assumption Danks wasn't ready this year and he gave him up as well as Nick Masset (whose name was mistakenly omitted from the last post) who the Rangers believed might be a late inning reliever. Masset is also on the Sox major league roster.
Eric Gagne is for the next post. This bullpen looks ready to carry this team when needed. Joaquin Benoit is approached by the new manager with hope instead of doubt and his performance has benefitted. He's been near untouchable early and Washinton considers him one of the setup men. Bruce Chen has even been productive in long relief making it easier for the Rangers to move Kam Loe where he needs to be.
The Rangers bats have started to come to life of late though they continue to struggle with men in scoring position and are hitting just .235 as a team. The offensive leader is sophomore second baseman Ian Kinsler who already has five home runs. Once Michael Young gets right, the Rangers may have the league's best offensive middle infield. The lineup as a whole could swing on if Sammy Sosa and Brad Wilkerson ever amount to anything. The early signs are poor as the pair have combined to hit below. 200 with just 5 BB and 6 RBI's while striking out 16 times in ten games. The question will soon become when it the right time to cut bait with these guys. He's toiling right now in AAA but the Jason Botts watch has officially begun.
On a positive note, the Rudy Jaramillo legend may be growing yet again. We've seen Gary Matthews, Jr., Mark DeRosa, and David Dellucci become serious major league jitters in recent years. Now Matt Kata and Jerry Hairston, Jr., may be emerging under Jaramillo's tutelage. We'll keep an eye on this.
Right now, you watch the team and hope for the best. You know they will have to click on all cylinders at some point if they want a shot at the playoffs in the AL West. The problem is, we've read this script before and it doesn't end well.