Baseball has officially been over for a week now with the Kansas City Royals beating the New York Mets to win the World Series. For every one it seemed like the Texas Rangers should have been there and could have possibly done the same thing as the Royals. Unfortunately the season came to an end in Toronto after a wild game against the Blue Jays. Some says it was due to the fault of Elvis Andrus, some blame Banister, and others blame Major League Baseball.
First of all, let me say this, the Texas Rangers played way above expectations this season. They started off in April just about where everyone thought they’d be. Basically a .500 team that would likely finish 4th or 5th in the division. The team lost their ace Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, and upcoming and rising star shortstop Jurickson Profar. Those were three big names to lose at the beginning of the season. And remember the Rangers didn’t have starting pitcher Martin Perez until about half way through the season. After April the Rangers had a 7-14 record and were 8.5 games back in the division. At this point everyone was ready to dig in and accept this was going to be another long touch season just like we saw in 2014.
But, this team was different. It was under different leadership with Jeff Banister at the helm. His charge of Never Ever Quit was just an ad campaign, it was a way of life at the team. It resonated from the clubhouse, to the front office, and to the fans. Many people thought at the trade deadline the Rangers would trade off some talent to build for 2016 such as Yovani Gallardo, Shin-Soo Choo, or others. But, Jon Daniels heard the call lead by Jeff Banister and made the team better by bringing a desperately needed Cole Hamels for the starting rotation. Also, he brought several much needed relief pitchers that included Jake Diekman. Also, brought back was fan favorite Mike Napoli who was struggling in Boston. While in Boston over 98 games he only batted .207/.307/.386/.693 with 13 home runs. After coming to Texas he saw a resurgence in his bat and had a batting line of .295/.396/.513/.908 with 5 home runs.
Daniels gave Banister the additional tools he needed to win, and that’s exactly what they did during the second half of the season. The Rangers had a record of 42-46 during the first half and a record of 46-28 in the second half. That was even after getting embarrassed by the New York Yankees after getting beat 5-21. But, let’s be honest about that game…It’s going to happen from time to time. We’ll get over it and we know the Rangers did.
The second half of the season was nothing less than impressive. They took care of business against their division rivals the Houston Astros and won 13 out of 19 games. Those wins helped them lead to the top of the division and ultimately led them to win the America League West.
It was a roller-coaster of season and the postseason was no different. It was great seeing them win the first two games. After the lost 2 at home it felt like the year they played the Tampa Bay Rays…this would be our year. But, Toronto as a city had different plans. Maybe it was the baseball gods saying it wasn’t our year. Overall, I don’t blame Banister, Andrus for the way the season ended. They put up a good fight against a really good team. Once the dust settled I’m still left with the fact the Rangers played their best ball they’ve played since the 2012 team. They played with heart, fire, and fight. They played a team that finally found their direction. And that my friend is a dangerous thing for other team. Watch out for the Texas Rangers in 2016!
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