Nothing like being swept at home by the Kansas City Royals to take away the luster of a fine season so far.
The last two home games for the Rangers have been nothing short of putrid. The hitters stopped hitting, the defense stopped playing defense and the pitching on Tuesday was flat-out awful.
Some of this was to be expected. Texas was coming off taking two of three from division rivals the Angels. Following the Royals is a two-game set with the division rival Oakland A’s. Thus, this brief two-game set with KC seemed to be a perfect time to give some regulars a little rest. Ron Washington gave Ian Kinsler and Mike Napoli the night off on Monday, Elvis Andrus and Nelson Cruz on Tuesday. Scott Feldman put in a spot start Monday night and pitched rather well, but fell victim to a lack of offense and an uncharacteristic error on a routine play by Adrian Beltre.
If blame can be assigned to Tuesday’s loss, it belongs squarely on Lewis. Not only did he give up lots of hits, he also committed both Rangers errors on the night, the first prolonging the first inning until the Royals had put four runs on the scoreboard. Since starting the season with a 3-0 record in April with a 1.93 ERA, Lewis in May has gone 0-3 with a 6.52 ERA. And it would be worse if not for the fact that five of the seven runs he gave up last night were officially unearned, thanks to his own bonehead plays. It makes one wonder if Lewis’ degenerative hip condition is flaring up again. Whether it is or it isn’t, this bad stretch isn’t likely to make the Rangers front office want to consider keeping him after his contract runs out at the end of the 2012 season.
One can only hope this brief malaise is just a little hiccup as Texas gears up to take on the A’s tonight and tomorrow. If not, this will be one of the more worrisome 23-14 teams out there.