Where it not for the obscene amount of money he’s being paid, Texas’ Chan Ho Park might get a bit of sympathy. However, with A-Rod long gone, he is the single biggest remaining example of Tom Hicks’ fiscal insanity / baseball ineptitude. From the Dallas Fort Worth Star Telegram’s Jim Reeves.

A stark reminder that two decent starts do not a turnaround make came Monday night at The Ballpark, when Chan Ho Park, fresh off two relatively impressive starts and his first win of the season, failed to make it through the fifth inning in an 8-5 Rangers loss to the Oakland A’s.

It was way too Ho-like for comfort.

Four and one-third below-average innings, 92 mostly-below-average pitches, eight hits, one of them a monster 449-foot home run by Eric Chavez, four walks, one batter plunked, four earned runs. Thirteen of 25 A’s batters reached base. His season ERA jumped from 4.38 to a very Ho-riffic 5.40.

Shudder at will.

And, yet, it really could have been much, much worse. He actually pitched out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the first without giving up a run.

At this point, you take small blessings where you can. Ironically, The Ho has become something of a tragic figure at The Ballpark these days. You can almost feel the crowd trying to will him to win, or at least to not stink up the joint.

Remember that standing ovation he was awarded just last week after 62/3, five-hit, three-run innings for a victory against the Angels? Fans are dying to do it again.

Redemption is such a wondrous thing, both to give and to receive.

“Our fans are waiting to embrace you,” manager Buck Showalter has told his players. “All you have to do is give them something to embrace you about.”

And Chan Ho is so imminently embraceable.

Really. He has suffered so much, failed so miserably, hit rock bottom so hard, how can you not root for him to somehow pull out of this nosedive his career has taken?

He is, after all, carrying the weight of an entire country on his shoulders.

“A lot of it really is a cultural thing,” Showalter said before the game started. “[He’s] supposed to pitch complete games. You should see the looks he gives me when I come to take him out. He’s totally deflated.

“You should hear the questions I get [from the Korean media]. ‘How hard did Chan Ho throw? Why did you take him out?’ You watch how he works out, it’s always more than anyone else because that’s the way Asian players have always done it.

“Hopefully, if he gets some success from this, he’ll settle in with the idea that more isn’t always best.”

But success in how the Rangers envisioned Park when they signed him to that five-year, $65 million contract three years ago, and how they see it now is considerably different. He is not the innings-eating, strikeout, fastball pitcher they thought they were getting.

This afternoon in Arlington, former Mets/Rockies/Dodgers starter Pedro Astascio has held the A’s scoreless, allowing 6 hits. Jason Kendall (.327 OBP prior to today) just flew out to left with Marco Scutaro on 2nd. 5 runs scored in 14 games for Kendall, by the way, who is currently sucking up a storm in the no. 2 spot. As is cleanup hitter Erubiel Durazo (.209 BA, .292 OBP, 0 HR’s). Billy Beane has been a master of the midseason pickup, and looking at Oakland’s flimsy offense, he’ll likely have to show some creativity again.