Friday, April 9, 2010

Pitching is fickle thing...especially in Texas

Pitchers have always driven the fans in Texas a little crazy. Typically, big time free agents don't want to pitch in the heat and humidity we get in the summer. Texas ends up shelling out HUGE money for the likes of Chan Ho Park and getting absolutely nothing in return. Park got a 5 year, $65 million dollar deal and managed 22 wins over 4 seasons before the Rangers got rid of him. This post isn't about money though.

It's about how pitching can vary from one day to the next. Wacky stats pop up and one day pitchers look like future HOF'ers and one day look like they couldn't get out my little leaguer.

Take the first three games for the Rangers.

Game 1, Monday vs. Toronto.

Neftali Feliz pitches 1/3 of an inning, throwing 18 pitches (7 strikes), gives up 2 hits and 1 earned run, walks 2 and strikes out 1.

Game 3, Thursday vs. Toronto

Feliz comes back to pitch 1 inning, throwing 13 pitches (10 strikes), giving up no hits, runs or walks and striking out the side. He threw Adam Lind an 89 mph CHANGEUP! That's the Feliz we're hoping to see all year.

How about Rangers closer Frank Francisco.

Game 1--1 inning pitched, 17 pitches (12 strikes), 1 hit, 2 K's, no runs and he gets the win thanks to the heroics of Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Compare that with Game 3. 2/3 inning, 26 pitches (14 strikes), giving up 4 hits, 3 earned runs including a Vernon Wells homer and taking the loss. The Rangers closer is 1-1 with 0 saves...three games into the season!

One positive sign was the Game 3 starter. C.J. Wilson, who hasn't started in something like 267 appearances, took the hill. His last start came in 2005, when he won 0 of 6 starts. On Thursday, he looked great. He pitched 7 strong innings, giving up 5 hits and 0 runs while walking 2 and striking out 9.

Now one that will show the wackiness of statistics. Game 2 Starter, Rich Harden, struck out 8 batters in 3 2/3 innings. That's 8/11 batters striking out. That's great right? Not when you walk 5 and have a pitch count at 90 through 3 2/3 innings of work.

Hopefully the Rangers pitching staff can settle out a bit. Of course, Rangers fans have been waiting for that nearly every year since 1972. I think they can do it this year! Right? Right??? It wouldn't hurt for the hitting to come around sooner rather than later. As a team, the Rangers are hitting .168 with 3 homers, 16 hits and 25 strikeouts. It's only three games into the season, but if you want to be playing for a reason in October, every single game counts. Even the early ones.

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