What is momentum, really?
In physics it’s described as “the quantity of motion of a moving body, measured as a product of its mass and velocity.”
In the baseball world, it’s much less complicated. So much less, that any Sabermetrician would tell you the concept of momentum doesn’t exist, because — what else? — it can’t be quantified.
Others say “momentum is only as good as the next day’s starting pitcher,” and the more optimistic believe momentum is an actual, tangible thing.
Since I typically lean towards nihilism in matters of what cannot be proven, all I do is look at the standings, and right now the Rangers are riding a 5-game winning streak, shaving 3.5 games off Oakland’s division lead in the process.
On Friday night, Alexi Ogando was excessively shaky, walking 5 Athletic hitters in 4.0 innings, and finishing his night at 95 pitches.
Thankfully, the Rangers have an excellent bullpen, which, in 5.0 innings allowed no runs on 3 hits, thus allowing the offense to ultimately seize control of the game.
The lineup has been hot of late, having scored 27 runs in their 4 prior match-ups; on Friday they strung together 8 more runs, on 12 more hits, which included 2-run blasts from Jurickson Profar, and the soon-to-be-suspended Nelson Cruz, his 26th, raising his triple slash line on the season to .272/.333/.511.
As an aside, I’m a big Nelson Cruz guy. His reputation may forever be scorned by PEDs, The Catch That Never Was — or some combination of the two — however, in the grand scheme he’s been a pretty damn good hitter in the middle of multiple World Series-caliber lineups in Arlington. If this weekend’s slate of games in Oakland is to be the last we see of him in a Texas Rangers uniform, then I’d be remiss not to acknowledge the memories we were fortunate enough to extract from him during his evolution as a baseball player.
Elvis Andrus went 2-5, and is now up to .255/.317/.297 (66 wRC+) on the season, which might not sound like much, but it’s a dramatic improvement from where he was even as recently as a couple weeks ago. Currently riding a 15-game hitting streak, Andrus hasn’t done it cheaply, hitting .339/.464/.411 (127 wRC+). While unsustainable, it’s sorely been missing from the lineup in 2013.
This is gonna be fun.