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Saturday, April 17, 2010
Game thoughts: Rangers fall 7-3 in NY

By Richard Durrett



NEW YORK -- Some quick observations from the Rangers' 7-3 loss to the Yankees. Click here for a replay of today's in-game chat.

* The Rangers' offense continues to sputter a bit. After falling behind 7-0, the Rangers tried to start to claw back into it as Chris Davis hit a double -- his fourth of the season -- and Joaquin Arias singled. An Elvis Andrus walk loaded the bases with one out for Julio Borbon. But the leadoff hitter, who has struggled at the plate to start the season, took a swing at the first pitch and popped it up. It just seems that the club hasn't been able to string the hits together enough to create some big innings and some momentum to build on.

* OF Nelson Cruz did provide a big blast to get the Rangers some runs in the eighth. He was 0-for-11 since his homer in Cleveland and had three strikeouts in his previous at-bats on Saturday before smashing a three-run homer to right-center in the eighth. It was his seventh of the season. It's the earliest a Rangers player has hit seven homers. Ian Kinsler hit seven in the first 13 games of 2007.

* Obviously, the Rangers' run production is higher in wins than losses. But the margin may surprise you. Texas is averaging 2.33 runs per game in losses and 6.00 runs per game in wins.

* It has not been a memorable last three days in terms of defense. The club had fielding issues late in the Cleveland, and some mishaps Friday and Saturday. The lastest troubles included Scott Feldman's attempted throw to first on a slow roller between the mound and first. Feldman got to the ball, but it looked like he rushed it and made a wide throw of first, pulling Davis off the bag. It was called a hit. Catcher Taylor Teagarden one-hopped a throw to second that allowed another run to score in the third. He was charged with an error. A broken bat hit by Mark Teixeira in the second seemed to confuse Joaquin Arias (the bat was headed toward him too).

* Feldman didn't have his best stuff on Saturday. A high pitch count early in the game hurt him. He threw 73 pitches in just 2 1/3 innings of work, matching the shortest outing of his starting career (last year vs. Detroit on July 29 was the last time he threw that few innings of work). Feldman's throw to first that pulled Davis off would have ended the second inning. Instead, he had to throw 19 more pitches and surrendered another run. A 10-pitch at-bat from Nick Swisher also drove up the pitch count. Feldman threw 38 pitches in the second inning alone.

* The Yankees love seeing pitches. Coming into Saturday's game, they were sixth in the majors in pitches per plate appearance (thanks Elias Sports Bureau). And they made sure Feldman had to throw a bunch of them early. Rich Harden starts Sunday and he's had high pitch counts this season. The Yankees aren't likely to make that any easier on him.

* Speaking of seeing pitches, Jamey Newberg of The Newberg Report makes a good point in his post sent out during the game. Newberg notes that Rangers starters were throwing 4.10 pitches per batter before Saturday's game and that number went up some after today's game. That's the highest in baseball. And the Rangers hitters were seeing 3.64 pitches per plate appearance, the lowest in the American League. Newberg writes: "When the gap begins to narrow between those two composite numbers, it’s going to feel like we’re another step closer to being where this team is capable of being."

* 1B Chris Davis had two hits off righty A.J. Burnett -- a single and a double. But he struck out against lefty Damaso Marte in the eighth. Davis is 7-for-24 (.292) against righties and 1-for-11 (.090) with 7 strikeouts against lefties.

* DH Vladimir Guerrero must feel good. He keeps running the bases aggressively. He went from first to third on Davis' single up the middle in the sixth. He isn't the fastest runner, but he runs hard.

* RHP Chris Ray had a good outing. He needed just eight pitches (six of them strikes) to get three outs in the seventh.

* C Taylor Teagarden was 0-for-3 on Saturday with two strikeouts and a walk. He is now 0-for-18 with 13 strikeouts and three walks to start the season.

* OF Julio Borbon was 0-for-5. He's now 3-for-36 to start the season.