Read the words of all the scribes and pundits. Listen to the talking heads on your favorite sports network, radio or TV. The overwhelming majority of them will say this: the Texas Rangers made the best trade deadline maneuvers of any team in baseball. In one fell swoop, they turned the biggest problem area of the team, the bullpen, and not only made it stronger, but maybe made it the best one in the game.
So leave it to the team to make the fans excited about these developments become squirming nervous pieces of vegetation (I know, it makes no sense, but it sounds good) by going 0-2 in the first two games since the trades were made. The #1 and #2 starters both had games to forget, except for two things: 1) The #1 starter has now had two putrid starts in a row; and 2) the #2 starter has been this inconsistent with his command all year long. And oh yeah the #2 starter now leads the league in home runs given up by a wide margin (6 more than the next guy, I believe). Classic “BOY PUTS FINGER IN DIKE! NEW LEAK DEVELOPS!” story.
Making matters worse, the Rangers came back from Colby Lewis‘ miserable start and tied a game they were well on their way to losing, only to see the Tigers get a home run in the bottom of the 8th to regain the lead and win the game. The home run was off the newest bullpen piece, Mike Adams, one of the guys hailed as among the best in the game. It was the first home run he’d given up to a left-handed hitter in a year and a half. On a change-up, a pitch he hardly ever throws.
It could be worse and, in fact, was a year ago. As Jamey Newburg painfully reminded me in his column today, Cliff Lee‘s first Rangers start was a shelling at home to the worst team in the AL at the time, the Baltimore Orioles. Lee gave up three homers in that game and was gone by the 6th. That trade still ended up working out pretty darn good, so I’ll forgive Adams for this debut, especially since it occurred during a rainstorm.
With the Angels winning and cutting the Rangers West lead to a single game, now is not the time to be seeing problems in the starting rotation. Matt Harrison gets the job of plugging the new leak tonight as he takes on the Tigers’ new acquisition Doug Fister. It’s getting a little too uncomfortable right now.