Cavalry Call

I’m no war strategist, nor do I consider myself to be anything of a history buff, but it doesn’t take one to understand the meaning behind the phrase “call in the cavalry”. The image my mind conjures up on hearing this phrase is from the movie The Patriot. A particular focus is given to the dragoons of the British army in this Mel Gibson film, and the part they played in the Revolutionary War. As the film portrays it, the British war strategy was to launch an initial attack with their infantry against the enemy, and once the first volleys had been exchanged and the ranks thinned on both sides, send in the cavalry to sweep through the opposition, allowing the British infantry to resurge and claim the battlefield.

If the MLB season were a Revolutionary War-style battle, the Rangers find themselves badly in need of a call for the cavalry to enter into the fray.

To say the Rangers ranks have thinned this season would be putting it lightly. They have had to play through more than a fair share of injuries, and have done so with above replacement-level success until recently. This Texas team has seemingly held itself together with Big League Chew and soggy sunflower seeds, as if Ron Washington were MacGyver himself.

Now, after being swept at home by Baltimore coming out of the four-day respite of the All-Star Break, it is clear that whatever magic the Rangers were able to pull to go 54-44 over their first 98 games in the face of so much adversity, the illusion is fading.

The Rangers infantry have pushed forward on the battlefield, fought admirably, been wounded significantly, and gained valuable soil, but they need reinforcements if victory is to be achieved.

The current cast of characters needs a shot in the arm. Even a four-day break for most of the team was not enough to prevent them from looking flat, tired, and outplayed at home over the weekend. It is as if they are the soldiers in the trenches on the front lines, and they need to hear that bugle call that brings with it additional strength in force and hope of success.

The good news is that the dragoons are not far away, and they cannot arrive a moment too soon.

Yu Darvish will take the mound on Monday. Alexi Ogando will follow on Tuesday. The non-waiver trade deadline is in nine days, and Texas will make moves before then.

If this is the type of bugle blast that could inspire British troops:

Then the actions that fulfill this Jon Daniels quote should have a similar effect on the Rangers squad:

“We have expectations and goals and we would like to reward the club and help these guys, the way they’ve played.”

Think back to 2010, when the Rangers were a team in the midst of a rebuilding plan whose ideal window for winning championships was supposed to be 2011, 2012, and beyond. The fighting Rangers found themselves in a position to make a push a year early. If the front office rigidly stuck to that plan, acquiring Cliff Lee would not have fit the blueprint in any way. Instead, Jon Daniels and his mighty men sent a message to the clubhouse that they wanted to win not just in 2011 and 2012, but in that year.

The reported reaction from the infantry in 2010 was Michael Young and Ian Kinsler bumping fists and excitedly whispering, “Dude, we’re getting Cliff Lee.”

The 2013 Rangers likely will not be acquiring Cliff Lee, or a comparable Ace for the rotation this year. But whatever starting pitcher they do add to the fold, or right-handed bat to solidify the lineup, will be a boost to the club’s outlook. Add to that the return of Darvish and Ogando, and perhaps Matt Harrison whose rehab is potentially ahead of schedule, and it isn’t hard for the Rangers to make the transition from a strung-out team on the bubble of playoff contention to a playoff contender, charging to the finish.

After the weekend’s sweep, many are questioning whether the 2013 Rangers have a real shot or not. With what is coming on the horizon, this could very well be this team’s lowest point. It isn’t time to surrender yet. Let’s see them reload and prove their mettle at this crossroads in the season. The cavalry is on its way. 

Peter Ellwood is a Senior Staff Writer for Shutdown Inning. You can email him at or reach him on Twitter @FutureGM
Peter Ellwood

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