I’ve heard it said that the outcome of any given game comes down to just a handful of plays. I’ll do my best to pinpoint those plays from tonight’s 5-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
These were the moments that mattered…
1) Adrian Beltre led off the 4th with a single and Nelson Cruz followed with a walk. It was up to David Murphy to at least move the runners, if not cash in a run to cut into the 2-0 deficit. Instead of doing either of those things, he weakly waved at a fastball on the outer edge of the plate and struck out. Michael Young ended the threat by grounding into a double play.
2) In the very next inning, Leonys Martin stood at 3rd with only one out and Texas trailing 5-1. Ian Kinsler needed to do something (anything!) to bring a run in, but could only manage to strike out swinging at a ball up around his chin.
3) Things looked promising in the 7th when Young led off with a triple and Mike Napoli followed with a walk. The team was poised to turn the game around, to finally get that big hit that’s alluded them for most of this series.
Martin struck out. Craig Gentry struck out. Kinsler popped out to shallow left. That was pretty much the ballgame.
Josh Hamilton was given the night off, but the rest of the team managed to fail without him.
You may have noticed a theme in the MtM, but the feeble offensive showing goes deeper than those three instances. The Rangers amassed 5 hits total, but 4 were for extra bases (2 doubles, a triple, and a homerun). Still, they cashed in only 2 runs and went 0-for-13 with RISP (currently 1-for-21 in the series).
The team is in a bad way right now.
The fanbase is restless and Twitter-sniping seems to be at an all-time high. Nobody’s having any fun, but the players and fans all know that this is a good team, even if they’re not playing like it.
In his usual mid-game stint in the TV booth, Mark McLemore talked about the team lacking “that spark.” They look flat, listless and everybody can see it.
Maybe they need to make a trade to boost the ranks. Maybe it’s just a matter of getting through July and flipping it on in August. I don’t know what it is, but it needs to happen soon.
The A’s and Angels are right there. They’re not going away and it’s no longer a matter of treading water. The time for scoreboard watching is over. The time for saying “Yeah, but we’re still the best team in baseball” has long since passed.
This team needs its swagger back. They need to do whatever it was they were doing in April when they looked like an invincible juggernaut.
It’s time to find it again, before it’s too late.
Keep the faith, Rangers fans.