BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 30: Joe Saunders #47 of the Texas Rangers looks on from the dugout during a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles on June 30, 2014 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Don’t blame Joe Saunders.
In a perfect world, he would have never gotten the ball for the Rangers this season. In fact, he shouldn’t even been invited to spring training.
But in a season in which seemingly every pitcher the Rangers had big plans for has been bizarrely injured (Derek Holland, Tanner Scheppers) or mysteriously ineffective (Robbie Ross, Alexi Ogando), there was Saunders Monday night in Baltimore again trying to eat innings and make a quality start and give his team a chance to put a finger in the dike.
No such luck.
Back in March I warned of this — a pitching staff reliant upon the underwhelming journeyman Saunders. He’s just a .500 pitcher with average stuff who has no business being in a rotation on a team with playoff aspirations. But on the Rangers these days, he’s perfectly imperfect.
Last night Saunders surrendered four homers in Texas’ lethargic 7-1 loss to the Orioles. He coughed up seven earned runs in five innings, raising his ERA to a number more suited for a freeway or area code (6.13). Alex Rios struck out three times. And the Rangers made almost as many errors (2) as they produced hits (4).
Just looked like a team whose fight has finally been defanged by all the injuries. Saunders might have been a microcosm of the disappointing season, but it’s not his fault.
It was never supposed to come to this.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.