The Rangers lost again Wednesday. It was just like Tuesday. They didn't score until the ninth inning. They continued to mount an assault on the all-time strikeout record.
But, hey, you've heard all this before.
So, now for something completely unexpected: The changing of the balls.
This became a big issue in Wednesday night's 4-1 loss to the New York Yankees. The umpiring crew, according to the Rangers, instituted a rather unusual edict. They ordered several balls be removed from play after the Yankees hit them in the air. They did not do this when the Rangers did it, though, in the spirit of transparency, the Rangers did it infrequently on the way to 13 more strikeouts. It all left the Rangers scratching their head.
"They kept changing the ball," manager Chris Woodward said after the game. "And we didn't want to change the ball. They said if it wasn't on the barrel, if it was jammed a little bit, they wanted to replace it. That was confusing to me. I've never seen it. I've never witnessed the changing of a ball after a fly ball."
Anyway, this became a real issue in the fifth inning after Edwin Encarnacion flied out to Willie Calhoun with New York already up 3-0. The ball came back to starter Lance Lynn, who examined it and readied himself to step back on the mound to face Mike Ford. Then home plate umpire Will Little ordered the ball out of play. It is here we should probably stop to mention that Little was working on the crew of chief Joe West, who, well, a lot of things get said about Joe West's running of games.
At this point, Rangers manager Chris Woodward asked for an explanation. Little said something. Then a clearly frustrated Lynn yelled something about having a plane to catch. Little couldn't hear him, so Lynn repeated it.