Michael Young Whiffs; Texas Rangers Lose

Not saying by any means that it was an easy or routine play. As Rangers' manager Ron Washington said, the ball was "smoked." But it's a ball that third baseman Michael Young could've stopped, right?

When Young did the ole on Casper Wells' hot shot in the 7th inning Wednesday night, I was reminded of his similarly unsuccessful attempt at A-Rod's smash in Game 1 of last year's ALCS. Adrian Beltre can make that play, but he's out with a strained hamstring. Chris Davis can make that play, but he's in Baltimore. Brooks Robinson could've made that play, but these days he's 74 years old.

Young? I'm about convinced he can no longer make that play.

"If he came up with it it would have been great," Washington said afterward. "I don't know if I've seen Beltre make that play. He's made a lot of plays. I've seen a lot of third baseman come up with balls like that. Michael just didn't come up with it. But that ball was smoked."

This is not to take reliever Koji Uehara off the hook.

He gave up three hard-hit balls in the 7th and was lucky that Josh Hamilton made a sliding catch on another sinking liner headed for a single. Seemed like catcher Mike Napoli had his glove low and hovering just over the dish before every Uehara delivery, only to have to reach up and catch each ball up in the zone.

Uehara wasn't good. But Young could've saved him, and his team. Instead, Young tried a risky backhand stab of Wells' one-hopper, and wound up allowing it to skid off the heel of his glove for a run-scoring single in a 4-3 loss. He snags it and it's an easy double play. He doesn't, and the Rangers fall to 10-11 since their 12-game winning streak and head out on a 10-game road trip with a 1.5-game lead in the AL West and a key four-game series in Anaheim against the Angels starting Monday.

And whether it's Toronto's Brett Cecil or Minnesota's Brian Duensing or last night Seattle's soft-tossin' Jason Vargas, the Rangers are struggling with mediocre lefties. In his previous seven starts Vargas was 0-6 with a 5.26 ERA, but he had Texas off-balance all night. The Rangers are 47-35 against righties but only 19-17 against lefties.

Those numbrers could've been better, but Young again swung and missed ... in the field.


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