This is the time every year that if you follow an American League team and you play in a National League park, the debate over whether the DH is a good or bad thing flares up again.
But no matter how you feel about that issue -- and I guess I'm a born-again DH convert after growing up in an NL city and not liking it for so many years -- the fact that the pitcher bats in an NL ballpark forces AL teams to make some important decisions.
The Rangers set up their rotation with this two-game series in Colorado in mind because they did not want to risk Colby Lewis (hip) or Matt Harrison (back) doing anything to cause a setback or hiccup in their recent recoveries from surgery. That put Martin Perez and Robbie Ross on the mound against the Rockies, which includes hitting.
Of course, manager Ron Washington doesn't want those guys taking too many chances, either. That's why any time there's an opportunity to just ask those guys to bunt, he's going to do it. And you can't blame him. He was in the visiting dugout in San Francisco in 2012 when Alexi Ogando tried to beat out a hit and injured himself.
Sure, you can talk about the Colorado altitude in regards to Perez last night, but the reality is that game is just as much on the Texas offense as it is a young starter who gave up some deep balls on good pitches. If the Rockies benefit from the thin air, so should the opponent. The Rangers' bats didn't follow suit, unable to carry over the 14-run outburst from the previous day.
The lopsided score meant that Washington's bench didn't really come into play, but it could in tonight's game. And that's not an advantage for the Texas skipper. Without Kevin Kouzmanoff, this bench doesn't give Washington a lot of proven hitters to send in for run-scoring opportunities. The best option is Mitch Moreland, who did pinch-hit late Monday and scored a run with a two-out RBI.
As for the DH debate, I've come around. I like the fact that a pitcher is tested throughout the entire lineup. There's no letup at the pitcher's spot. Yes, not having that DH makes for some interesting strategy late in games, but there's strategy late in AL games when you try to get the matchups you want as well. Seeing a pitcher bunt, take some meager whacks or simply hope that he avoids injury isn't quite as exciting as bringing up an actual hitter and asking the opposing pitcher to get him out. But that's just me (and I didn't used to think that way).