I tweeted Friday that the Texas Rangers were hitting .310/.379/.560 against left-handed pitching at home. With Jeff Francis and Bruce Chen starting two of the three games in the series I felt there was some cause for concern, and then Francis and Chen went out and got handled.
Francis gave up 9 hits and 5 earned runs in just 4 innings of work Friday night while Chen gave up 8 hits and 6 earned runs in 4.1 innings today. Both would certainly qualify as ugly starts. Kyle Davies would turn in the weekend's lone quality start (his second straight for those who haven't noticed). It's hard to fault Francis and Chen too much since the Rangers ballpark is a bit of a joke and the strike zone during the series was inconsistent at best. That may sound like sour grapes, and it probably is, but whatever.
The sweep was disappointing but I'm not sure it told us anything we already didn't know. Chris Getz has seen his numbers fall dramatically and probably needs to be replaced by Mike Aviles in the lineup. Aviles hit leadoff today and Getz hit ninth so I think there's a good chance the Cleveland series begins with Getz on the bench. I wrote in the St. Joseph News Press that despite having a good offense thus far there were some issues that will need to be addressed, after 20 games four regulars had on-base percentages below .300. This basically means that Gordon, Butler, Betemit, and Francoeur have been carrying the offense, and when they struggle runs will be hard to come by. Now I'm not worried about Ka'aihue and I believe Escobar's defense makes up for his bat, but I fear we've seen the best of Cabrera.
Both catchers have been doing poorly but Treanor has just been dreadful (.119/.262/.260). Last year Pena hit better once he started playing every day, so if that would hold true this year, then the team would be best served by letting him start four out of every five games. And really, Pena's not an all that attractive offensive option but Mike Macfarlane isn't walking through that door.
It'll be interesting to see how they handle the sweep, we know in years past this would be the beginning of a week long losing streak but something tells me this won't happen. After losing the last two games and being down 8-2 in the fifth inning today, instead of rolling over and calling it a series, they battled back and eventually brought the tying run to the plate in the 9th inning. This is what makes this team so entertaining to watch, they don't quit until the final out is made.
As for the fans, if you jumped on the bandwagon at 10-4 and are jumping off now, I don't know what to tell you. Except that you shouldn't have been on the bandwagon to begin with.