I’m fascinated by the style of structure. I imagine that plays a role in why I’m so drawn to baseball and blackjack — two of my most favorite things in the world. Because they are what they are: Games. They have rules. There are 30 baseball teams and presumably hundreds of thousands of people who play blackjack, but no two teams — or people — do it the same way. And yet, every team — and every person — believes they are right in the way they go about it. There’s structure, and then there’s the style that’s implemented within the structure.
And since everybody is right, it inevitably means everyone is also wrong. Because there’s no right answer. The goal in baseball is to be one of 10 teams to make the postseason, but the champion isn’t always the game’s best squad; it’s the team that’s hot at the right time.
In blackjack, you are simply at the mercy of the dealer’s next card. An expert could make all the right plays and still lose all of his or her money, or someone who doesn’t know what the hell they’re doing can win every hand. It’s frustrating and brilliant at the same time. And that can be fucking painful when the cards fluctuate in and out of your favor.
But in the same breath, I catch myself, because at the end of the day that’s what makes both baseball and blackjack so beautiful. Because inexplicable phenomena like “luck” and “magic” actually exist within the walls of these separate universes.
* * *
In an abstract sense, that’s why I’m not terribly bummed that the Rangers didn’t win tonight. The way I see it, Texes stole one from the Mariners last night. Felix Hernandez was not supposed to lose to Justin Grimm at home. He just wasn’t. It’s only fair that we lost Yu Darvish‘s start to make up for it.
In Darvish’s defense, he wasn’t bad at all. I mean, he did give up those 3 obligatory first inning runs to the Mariners, but after that he finished strong — retiring the last 12 batters he faced. His finishing line technically reads as a quality start (because he gave up exactly 3 runs in exactly 6 innings), but I would have liked to have seen what would have happened if somehow he was given a mulligan for his 1st inning. That is, after all, where all the damage occurred.
He finished the night with 8 strikeouts and only 1 walk, though he did plunk the hapless Jason Bay in consecutive at bats.
The only Rangers’ run came via an Ian Kinsler homer to lead off the 4th inning.
At this time I just think this point has been beaten to death, but I’m going to say it again anyway: Our offense struggles with men in scoring position. Yes, there were only 8 total runners at play in tonight’s game (6 hits, 2 walks), but sans Kinsler’s solo bomb, that means none of the other 7 were brought home with a run-scoring hit that was in play.
If you prescribe to the Sabermetric outlook on production with runners in scoring position, you’d know these types of things generally tend to even out over the course of the season. It sucks on nights like tonight where it’s not going well, but I’ve still yet to see anyone complain when we’re racking up a ton of clutch hits with men on base.
Anyway, tomorrow is game 3 of the series, and I think it’s Alexi Ogando‘s turn? I don’t know. Probably.