There comes a point in every season where you have a gut-check with your team, though usually you don’t realize it until after it passes. It’s a lot like being in a coma of depression; one day you just wake up and everything feels different, and you wonder how it took you so long to get out of something you didn’t know you were even in.
This season the gut-check feels different, because it’s so blatant, and in your face. Over the last few years we’ve grown accustomed to “bad” baseball being somewhere around the level of .500; right now the Rangers have lost 6 consecutive games and — more so than the final outcomes — the way they’ve been losing has been filthy. The pitching puts the offense in an early hole, the offense isn’t doing anything about it, and the game slowly evaporates from there.
I live in a world of cards, where everything is based on opportunity and luck — much like baseball. As the dealer, if I beat the player in 6 consecutive blackjack hands, it stands to reason that the player would (theoretically) have the advantage in hands 7-12. I’m not saying baseball is the same as blackjack, but the concept doesn’t change; the Rangers have had opportunities to win at various points over the last 6 games, but the luck hasn’t gone in their direction.
The cold-hearted truth about baseball is that players sometimes go through slumps, and there are certain stretches of every season when those slumps run like an infection through the clubhouse, and the team is bit.
Right now happens to be one of those times.
In June the Rangers have scored the fewest amount of runs in the Majors (39), exacerbated by an atrocious .219/.291/.359 triple slash line. It’s as bad as I’ve seen the Rangers look in I don’t even know how long. 2009?
One thing that gives me hope is BABIP — one of the infamous Luck Dragons that I mention seemingly every other blog. In June the Rangers have the lowest BABIP in the Majors (.245), which isn’t meant to be an excuse for the recent futility, but it does help explain why the run outputs have been worse than the worst-case scenario lately.
After Oakland’s win on Sunday, they own a 3.0-game lead in the American League West, and tomorrow they travel to Arlington for the most critical regular season series the Rangers have played since the last 3 games of 2012 — also against the Athletics.
If I could stress anything, it’s patience — though that’s about the last thing anyone wants to hear after their team has been dragged repeatedly through rough piles of granite over the last week. This is a time for overreactions and hyperbole, and for fans everywhere to unite in tearing down the monuments they’ve made these players out to be. Oh well.
If you want to know about the 2013 Texas Rangers, what they’ve got, you’ll see it this week against the A’s. For the first time in a long time the Rangers are the hunter rather than the hunted, which is weird, but it’s a good kind of weird.