Some of the lowlights of this weeks starting pitching performances:
Vicente Padilla became the first pitcher in all of baseball to reach the number eight in the loss column after being pounded by the Mariners on Thursday.
Kevin Millwood, coming off his second hamstring related stint on the disabled list, allowed 10 hits and seven runs over five innings of work and saw his ERA balloon to near 7.00.
Although it was just lasted 5 2/3 innings, Sunday was not only Robinson Tejeda's longest start of the week but the longest he's lasted in a game since going 6 1/3 in a loss against the Yankees on May 3rd. Saddest of all, his 6.28 earned run average serves as the LOWEST in the starting rotation. That's not a typo. I wouldn't have capitalized it if it wasn't.
But don't be so quick to cast the first stone at Robinson Tejeda for his role in Sunday afternoon's loss to the Mariners. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth, third baseman Matt Kata booted a sharp grounder off the bat of the Mariners' backup catcher Jamie Burke. Had the play been made, the Rangers would have escaped the inning still in possession of a 4-1 lead. But the misplay, which was ruled an infield single by the official scorer, led to certain doom and the inning quickly unraveled thanks to five Seattle runs.
Kata, however, wasn't the only guilty party on defense yesterday. Four more runs crossed in the sixth that allowed the Mariners to widen the defecit: First, Marlon Byrd lost a ball in the sun for a leadoff double. Then, a potential inning-ending groundout into a base hit and an error on the throw. The sloppy play in the field gave Seattle starter Ryan Feierabend more than enough wiggle room to shrug off two homers from Victor Diaz and another from Mark Teixeira and still pick up the win.
Also in yesterday's loss, Nelson Cruz went 0 for 4 with 3 K's. Sadly, games like that haven't been that uncommon for the outfielder this season. With a .163 month of May that saw his batting average drop to .188, Nelson Cruz may be the odd man out once Brad Wilkerson returns to the lineup. Aside from a rope into the right field seats to win a game against the Angels, he's looked very poor at the plate basically all year long.
Scary moment of the week came on Friday evening when Mark Teixiera was hit in the head by a ball while sliding in to home plate, resulting in a mild concussion. The first baseman was trying to score on a Marlon Byrd single when the throw from Ichiro Suzuki short hopped Seattle catcher Kenji Johjima and caught Teixeira with a pretty good blow to the cranium. He was assisted off the field and replaced by Ramon Vasquez at first for the remainder of the game, but Teixeira put himself through a 20 minute workout the following day at Safeco Field and returned to the lineup that evening. His consecutive games played streak with the Rangers remains in tact.
Victor Diaz continues to give the Rangers glimpses of something great. In Sunday's loss, he went 2 for 4 with two homers and five runs driven in. He's combined with Marlon Byrd to all but push Nelson Cruz out of the outfield situation for the time being.
Player of the Week: Michael Young
Young had 11 hits over the past week, good for a .349 average. In fact, while another 200+ hit season may be in jeopardy, last month served as a nice return to form for the All-Star shortstop who batted .296 with 34 hits and 13 driven in over the month of May.
The Rangers managed to win the only game of a four game series with the Mariners despite of themselves. Despite Kevin Millwood giving up 7 runs and 10 hits over five innings, Mariners starter Jarrod Washburn was just as bad and the Rangers were able to take advantage of it. Despite leaving 17 men on base and going 4 for 23 with runners in scoring position, the Rangers managed to scrape together nine runs. But Kenny Lofton's leaping grab to rob Adrian Beltre of a two run homer saved the game for the Rangers.