Without hyperbole, one could say that Thursday’s 8-6 loss to the Yankees was the toughest to swallow thus far in 2009.
For starters, Texas jumped out to a 5-1 lead early, only to watch it disintegrate in the bottom of the fifth, as the Yanks plated five to take the lead.
Then there was the comeback; namely, an Ian Kinsler home run off the foul pole in left.
C.J. Wilson, who got the loss, had gone his last 14 appearances without giving up a run. After throwing a near-flawless 1 2/3 innings the day before though, he surrendered a home run to Melky Cabrera on a hanging slider.
That pitch alone was something of an emotional rollercoaster, as David Murphy climbed the wall and looked (to me, anyway) to be in position to make the catch. Instead, the ball fell into the outstretched arms of a portly Yankees fan.
The ninth saw Texas claw back, with a double from Michael Young and a single from Hank Blalock. Leading off the inning, Ian Kinsler came inches from a double of his own, though it landed just west of the left field foul line.
Kinsler would go on to strike out, as well as Nelson Cruz. Murphy ended the game with a weakly hit pop up to third, stranding two.
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Texas is now 2-4 against the Yankees on the season.
With an Angels win, the Rangers’ lead was cut a full game, to 3.5.
As difficult as it is to think of the positives in such starkly depressing times, there are some rays of light in the dark morass of this game worth noting.
Chris Davis doubled twice, and it appears that he may finally be breaking through what has been a terrible slump. He seems to be seeing the ball well, and hitting the low strike, which he struggled with mightily at times.
Texas also showed some considerable fight.
Even against Mariano Rivera, who proved Thursday that he can still get pretty nasty, Texas seemed poised to make a run.
This won’t matter at all in the box score, of course, as the Rangers ultimately came up short. This tends to happen with future first-ballot Hall of Famers.
But Thursday was not necessarily a regression for the team. The staff, which has carried this team considerably at times this season and certainly more than anyone thought they would, had a bad day; and the offense, to a degree at least, picked up the slack.
The fact that they came up short isn’t indicative of anything other than the Yankees being pretty good at baseball. And if Texas can forget about the loss some time between now and six o’clock Friday, all of this ugliness might become pretty forgettable.
The Rangers will play the Yankees thrice more this season, as they travel to New York in August.