Three games. Three losses. One reminder: Your Dallas Mavericks started 0-4. But after watching the Texas Rangers get absolutely bludgeoned in Anaheim, my dollar -- on second thought, my million dollars -- says no way in hell they'll ever climb to 62-12. After three days of pitches missing strike zones, bats left on shoulders and fundamentals effed up to Bad News Bears proportions, the Rangers are still looking for their first lead, much less their first win, heading into Friday's home opener against the Boston Red Sox. Texas, which hasn't been 0-4 since '91, hasn't even been tied after a full inning of play.
So far it's seven runs, five errors ... and one panic button?
We know-- at least we think we know, right? -- the Rangers will eventually hit. But they certainly didn't get wood in Anaheim, producing only 15 hits against 25 strikeouts, 14 of those looking. And despite all of new manager Ron Washington's enthusiastic promises, his pitchers didn't throw strikes. Setting an ominous tone, starters Kevin Millwood and Vicente Padilla started their games with walks and, in Wednesday's 5-3 loss, Brandon McCarthy stumbled, bumbled and fumbled a high chopper into an infield single that opened the door to a 4-run inning.
Which leads the most troubling aspect of 0-3.
The Rangers are playing fundamentally ghastly baseball. In the first game they committed two errors. In game two Padilla looked as though he'd never covered first base in his life, botching a double-play relay that led to a run. And Wednesday, three consecutive pitches summed up the silliness. First, Gold Glove first baseman Mark Teixeira couldn't handle a hard-hit grounder, instead deflecting it into right field for a double. Then catcher Gerald Laird dropped a perfect throw at home plate, allowing a run. And, finally, McCarthy perfected the old fake-to-third-and-throw-to-first pickoff move, but when no Ranger covered second base it resulted in Texas simply giving away a base. Somewhere, from his perch as Cleveland Indians consultant, Buck Showalter cracked a smile.
If Friday's opener doesn't get any better, you can always time-warp back to the relative glory days and ponder this year's Rangers Hall of Fame candidates (I'm partial to Jeff Burroughs and Mickey Rivers and, for that matter, old Arlington Stadium). Or, you kill some time between miscues discussing which team will win more games this season, the Rangers or Mavericks? To date: Mavs +62. --Richie Whitt
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