Was gonna construct a list of the Rangers' worst losses this season, then I realized after last night's 5-3 self-Heimlich to the Houston Astros ... there is no No. 2.
Two-run lead in the 9th. All-Star closer Neftali Feliz on the mound. At home. Against the worst team in baseball. And one that hadn't homered in eight games.
The problems actually started in the 8th inning. Trying to protect a lead provided by a sparkling outing from Colby Lewis, manager Ron Washington handed the ball to Dave Bush. What a sad state of affairs in the Rangers' bullpen. Bush -- the Rangers are 2-13 when he throws a pitch -- immediately gave up two singles and a wild pitch to allow Houston to claw within 2-1.
Then in the bottom of the 8th the Rangers pushed the lead to 3-1 on Michael Young's double but should've gotten more. On the double Josh Hamilton reached for his left hamstring and then didn't try to score on Nelson Cruz' grounder to 2nd.
Of course, when your closer has a night like that, another run wouldn't have mattered. Feliz had three blown saves in 2010. In 2011 he already has four.
Feliz was hitting 96 mph with his fastball but the meek-hitting Astros were turning it around. In between a passed ball by Yorvit Torrealba -- Bengie Molina, anyone? -- Feliz allowed three extra-base hits, including a pinch-hit, two-run homer to Matt Downs.
Four runs. Twenty-two pitches. The worst Rangers loss of the season.
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