A walk, a steal of second and a single.
That's all it takes to create a three-game losing streak, something the Rangers learned in the 10th inning on Wednesday night. It's the kind of thing that happens all the time, but Mike Adams, the man on the mound when it ended, didn't feel like it happened organically.
Adams was upset that Alejandro De Aza took an extended period of time to deal with an achy knee after he fouled a ball off of it during his at-bat in the 10th. It was long enough for Adams to throw a few warmup pitches before De Aza stepped in and drew the walk that set the stage for Kevin Youkilis' game-winning hit.
"It was almost like icing the kicker," Adams said, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "It cooled me off and I wasn't able to get that sharpness I needed back.... You either get out of the game or stay in the game, one way or another. Nothing I can do about it. I just have to do a better job of staying with it and staying focused."
While we understand Adams' point, especially with De Aza stealing second, it smacks of excuse-making to bring up the amount of time De Aza took to return to the batters box. Adams battled Youkilis for nine pitches before the game-winning hit and if Adams was still thinking about De Aza's at-bat, well, he deserved what he got.
That's what makes the kicker analogy so apt. When kickers miss kicks at the end of games after opposing coaches call for a time out, it isn't because the opposing coach is a strategical genius. It's because the kicker doesn't have the mental fortitude to deal with the situation or a bad snap or a dozen other things that could go wrong.
You can file Adams' moaning into the same file where you put everything else having to do with unwritten rules of baseball, be they when it is okay to bunt or how a pitcher responds to a player celebratiing a home run. They are things to concern yourselves with when you are trying to rationalize bad behavior or poor performance because the only rules that actually matter are the ones in the rule book.
Should there be a rule dictating how long a player is able to deal with fouling a pitch off himself before he must get back in the box or be replaced? Go ahead and suggest it, but until there is a rule then it is up to Adams to just do his job and stop trying to come up with lame reasons when he fails.