Roy Oswalt was awful in his third start with the Rangers this season, giving up 11 runs, 9 earned, off 13 hits, 3 of which were homeruns. The bullpen didn’t do any better as Yoshi Tateyama and Justin Grimm combined to give up 8 more runs, on 8 more hits, and another homerun. The start pushes Oswalt’s ERA to a very uncomfortable 7.79 and raises questions about the Rangers’ new acquisition. In his three starts he has given up a total of 35 hits and 15 ERs in just 17.1 innings. His performance so far will probably further rumors that the Rangers are looking for another arm before the the July 31 trade deadline. As I noted yesterday, there are already discussions that the Rangers might be interested in Cole Hamels from the Phillies or Zack Greinke from the Brewers. Before Oswalt’s horrible game last night, I would have predicted that adding another starter would move Derek Holland to the bullpen. Now, I’m not so sure. With Holland, Lewis, and Feliz coming back from the disabled list soon, the Rangers would be looking at a possible rotation of Harrison, Darvish, Lewis, Oswalt, and Holland, moving Feliz back to the bullpen. Adding another starter would mean moving another to the bullpen and we can pretty much guarantee that person will not be Matt Harrison, Yu Darvish, or Colby Lewis. If Oswalt continues to struggle and Holland can get back on track when he arrives from the DL, then the Rangers may be forced to move a veteran pitcher to the bullpen that they are paying, to be a starter, roughly $4.25 million.
Chris Sale showed why he’s an All-Star and one of the best pitchers in the league going 71/3 giving up only 5 hits and 1 earned run. A.J. Pierzynski received a standing ovation after going 3 for 5 with a homerun, a double and 3 RBIs. Clearly, the fans in Chicago felt the need to emphasize their disappointment that Pierzynski was snubbed from the All-Star lineup, while Mike Napoli, whose batting average dropped to .235, was voted in as a starter. The White Sox’s new third baseman, Kevin Youkilis contributed 3 hits with a homerun and 4 RBIs.
The White Sox jumped on the Rangers early, scoring 4 runs in the first thanks to three homeruns by Youkilis, Adam Dunn, and Alex Rios. They then posted 3 runs in the second off a single by Youkilis, a double from Dunn, and a single from All-Star Paul Konerko.
The Rangers couldn’t muster a hit off Sale until the 4th inning when Josh Hamilton lined to right field. Alex Rios charged the ball and appeared to make a sliding catch just off the grass. Initially the umpires ruled it a catch and called Hamilton out. Replays clearly showed that Rios dropped the ball and then picked it up with his hand out of view of the umpires. After a conference, the umpires reversed the call giving Hamilton a hit and taking away the out.
The White Sox then scored 9 in the fifth inning thanks to bad pitching and an error from Ian Kinsler. Oswalt would have gotten out of the inning having given up only 2 runs, but Kinsler muffed an easy grounder to second giving the White Sox and extra chance in the inning. They did not squander it. Three singles and a homerun later they had scored 7 more runs, and then they added 3 more in the 7th. Kinsler’s error was his 12th of the year, surpassing his total of 11 errors from all of last year.
As some of you who have followed me on Facebook know, I have been extremely critical of Kinsler this season. He’s an incredibly talented player and made the All-Star roster, but he consistently frustrates me with his lack of hustle, poor defensive play and bad decision making. It seems that he has lost any sense of urgency and any desire to play hard after signing his long-term deal in the off-season.
So, to sum up, the Rangers got their butts whipped last night and A.J. Pierzynski made a statement in front of the fans in Chicago that will only further the controversy over his absence from the All-Star lineup.