McCarthy's struggles dig hole for Rangers
Offensively, Hank Blalock had a two hit afternoon for the Rangers. It was his first since a game against the Royals back in the opening week of exhibition baseball.
Mike Wood had another impressive relief appearance and probably shouldn't be overlooked when it comes time to fill out the remaining spots in the bullpen. He allowed two hits, but struck out three batters and was able to get a good amount of groundball outs.
Playing in centerfield, Jerry Hairston Jr. made an impressive sprinting grab of a liner by Marco Scutaro, doubling off an Oakland baserunner who had taken off from first on the play to get out of the 4th inning.
Although Brad Wilkerson picked up a ninth inning single today to keep the hopes of a comeback spring win alive for the moment, it was the only productivity in an otherwise quiet afternoon that included leaving four guys stranded on base.
Brandon McCarthy didn't look half bad to begin the game. Although he was wild, he displayed a nice changeup and the only hit off of him in the top of the first was a double of the broken-bat blooper variety thanks to Nick Swisher. But the curveball wasn't there for him today and as the game wore on, McCarthy began leaving more and more of his pitches up in the zone. Travis Buck of the A's happened to find one of those pitches and turned on it, driving it way out of the park for a two-run homer in the second inning. He was gone after three innings with six hits and five earned runs for his efforts, although two of the runs came via a bases loaded walk and a sacrifice fly given up by Ron Mahay.
Walks were a problem between McCarthy and Mahay. Both walked six Oakland batters during their combined five innings of work.
Jamey Wright will be the number five man in the starting rotation, it's all but official. Part of the reason behind the decision has to do with the depth at Triple-A Oklahoma not being where the Rangers would like it to be with Thomas Diamond out for the year and Edinson Volquez set to begin the season in Bakersfield. But the Rangers like what Wright has done so far this spring and don't want to lose having a durable guy with his types of abilities around. As a result, the club must decide whether Loe will fit into a seven man bullpen or if he should begin the year in the minors. Bruce Chen, however, likely will end up with a new home. Teams have already come calling about his services and there's a good chance he will be traded before the April 1 out-date in his contract.
Kameron Loe take the hill first on Sunday in Tucson as the Rangers take on the White Sox.