BOSTON -- The Rangers had a show of hands on Monday night. The results showed they were healthy but ineffective. The Rangers, at least for now, will settle for health even if Brandon McCarthy and Willie Eyre were beat up some in the first game back from injuries. After all, the Rangers still finished with a winning record on a daunting road trip to Detroit and Boston. They just couldn't get away from Fenway Park, as manager Ron Washington said, "with a smile on our faces."
Instead, McCarthy gave up four runs in 3 2/3 innings and Eyre allowed three in 3 1/3 innings as the Rangers lost to the Boston Red Sox, 7-3, at Fenway Park. The Rangers ended up 4-3 on the road trip and open up a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at home on Tuesday. "It was a successful trip playing the teams we were playing," Washington said. "We came out of it 4-3. We would have liked to have won more, but you don't expect to win three in a row against the Boston Red Sox, not with the way they swing the bats." That may be true, but McCarthy certainly wasn't happy. He was extremely critical of his performance even though he was pitching for the first time since June 9 and just the second time since May 25. "Bad ... not good," said McCarthy, who had been sidelined with a blister problem. "That's just a convenient excuse, not having been out there awhile. I don't expect that out of myself and they certainly don't expect that out of me. If I can't throw better stuff than that, I shouldn't be out there." McCarthy said he had no trouble with the remnants of the blister on his right middle finger that limited him to just one start in the last five weeks. "The finger felt fine," McCarthy said. "I felt good physically. That makes everything even more disappointing. When you're feeling good you wish you could battle through it and give the team some innings and Willie didn't have to be out there that long. That's on me." Eyre said he had no problems with a bruised right hand suffered at the end of last Tuesday's start against the Detroit Tigers. Eyre was hit in the hand with a line drive that was swollen for a few days but was fine on Monday even though he walked five batters. He had walked 3.1 batters per nine innings coming into the game. "I just didn't locate my fastball very well," Eyre said. "I kept getting into bad counts but that didn't bother me as much as the walks." The walks were especially costly in the fifth. Brad Wilkerson's three-run home run in the top of the inning made it 4-3. But Eyre walked two in the bottom of the inning and that helped set up Eric Hinske's three-run triple. "We just couldn't stop the charge," Washington said. Eyre did do a couple of things right. He caught a line drive without injuring himself and he was able to give the Rangers 3 1/3 innings in a night when the bullpen was short. The Rangers gave closer Eric Gagne the night off and they are without reliever Akinori Otsuka, who has some soreness in the forearm/elbow area. The Rangers expect Otsuka to miss a couple of games but he should be fine. "We were trying to get Willie through seven and we did," Washington said. "We needed him to eat up some innings and he did." In the seventh, Dustin Pedroia ripped a line drive back to the mound just like Placido Polanco did in Detroit. This time, Eyre got his right hand out of the way and made the catch. "[Catcher] Gerald Laird gave me a little smile," Eyre said. The irony of the night was the Rangers had McCarthy start this game instead of a second medical rehabilitation assignment because they thought he had as good of a chance as Eyre to give them 80 pitches. As it turned out, Eyre ended up throwing 83 pitches and McCarthy threw 81. They weren't the best pitches they've thrown this season, but they are healthy again.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.