The 2015 Texas Rangers season has been nothing short of a miracle. I thought they would be bad. You thought they would be bad. I’m pretty sure Jon Daniels thought so too, and ownership was worried about Shin-Soo Choo, Prince Fielder, Jurickson Profar, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, Elvis Andrus, Leonys Martin, Neftali Feliz,Martin Perez, catcher, left field, the bullpen and…what am I missing?
I’d like to say, despite his instant #NeverEverQuit mantra, new manager Jeff Bannister was anticipating a long season. Not exactly a rebuild, but certainly not a contending team 1.5 games ahead of the Houston Astros for first place in the American League West with 6 (!) games left to go in the regular season.
However, that lead was 4.5 three days ago and the Rangers magic number was down to just 5. With the Tigers taking Game One of a three game set in Arlington, the Astros riding a late season power surge from 2015 bust Chris Carter and heck, the Angels –fueled by a David Murphy walk-off hit last night– are still very much in the race. Two games back in the A.L. West and just a half game behind the Astros for the second Wild Card spot.
Yeah, it’s pretty crazy.
The Rangers were in prime position to avoid all this craziness, but the way 2015 has gone, the ups and downs, the Cole Hamels trade, the Mike Napoli playing left field and the total re-shaping of the bullpen to just name a few of many, many things, it’s only fitting that Banny’s club is right in the middle of an American League typhoon that will likely be settled on the very last day of the season. Hopefully first place in the division –and the fate of our Rangers– is decided before then.
The Tigers have pretty much packed things in since the deadline. They traded awayDavid Price, Yoenis Cespedes and Joakim Soria and fired General Manager Dave Dombrowski after 14 years in the organization, building perennial contender after contender as well as American League pennant winners as recently as 2012.
With the red hot Angels set to visit Arlington in the final four games of the year and the Astros having taken two of three from the Rangers over the weekend, the Rangers must win this series vs. the Tigers.
A good example of a thing not to do in such an event is leaving the bases loaded with no outs, exactly what Texas did last night in the bottom of the 4th inning. The game immediately got out of the Rangers’ hands as the Tigers scored 5 off Colby Lewis in the 5th and a 9th inning rally highlighted by a really, really darn cool 11 pitch at bat from Prince Fielder that eventually led to a two run single. However, Adrian Beltre proceeded to ground into a game ending 6-4-3 double play, clinching a 7-4 Tigers win.
The Astros won. The Angels won.
It was not a productive night for your Texas Rangers.
But the best thing about baseball is that you’re right back at it tonight, with a chance to extend the division back to a 2.5 game lead and a chance to go 3.5, finish off a Tigers club that has all but packed it in for 2015 before the big showdown with the Angels –in Arlington– to end the year.