Game 162 [Emotional] Breakdown

It’s been 11 months since the Rangers gave away the World Series in 3 straight innings in St. Louis. We all thought that kind of pain was behind us…but what did we know?

Texas has led the AL West from the first week of the season all the way until the last, but the Oakland A’s never went away. Now they lead the division on the only day that really matters.

Today’s 12-5 loss started out somewhat rocky, with Oakland jumping out to a 1-0 lead on 2 singles and a double. Ryan Dempster was able to settle down and retire the next 8 hitters he faced.

In the meantime, Texas started to swing the bats in the 3rd. Ian Kinsler led off with a single and the floodgates opened. 5 runs came across before the inning came to a close. More important than the runs themselves, I thought, was the attitude in the dugout.

One of the incredible marks of this team is the joy that they seem to play with when things are going well. We haven’t seen enough of that joy lately, but we were seeing it in the 3rd inning. Texas seemed ready to finally put Oakland away.

Things turned around quickly on a three hitter sequence that spanned the top and bottom of the 4th. After Adrian Beltre singled with 2 out, Nelson Cruz hit a screaming line drive down the left field line. It was only a foot or two from sneaking over the wall, but it turned out to be just a double. Michael Young followed with a screaming line drive down the right field line, which was just low enough for Brandon Moss to pull down at 1st base.

After ending the top of the 4th, Moss led off the bottom of the same inning. Dempster walked him on 4 pitches. From there the Oakland hitters would go double, single, single, out, out, double to tie the game.

Stephen Drew walked and Yoenis Cespedes stepped to the plate with the chance to put the A’s ahead. Derek Holland, who was in the game in relief, coaxed a lazy fly ball to center field to end the inning…

…then this happened.

Oakland took a 2-run lead and added another run in the 5th. The real combo breaker came in the top of the 7th, when the Rangers got runners to 2nd and 3rd with no out and failed to score.

The A’s broke out again in the 8th, turning a 3-run lead into a 7-run lead. Nail had met coffin. It was over.

Now your Texas Rangers, who have been in the driver’s seat for over 5 months, will play a 1-game, winner-take-all wild card game on Friday. The opponent will be the Baltimore Orioles, but I don’t think it really matters.

They needed to win just 1-of-3, but they couldn’t do it. Now they’re expected to win 1-of-1 and I don’t see it happening. The season is probably over.

As the old saying goes, “It’s not how you start…it’s how you finish.” We learned it in St. Louis 11 months, and we’ve learned it again today.

Try to press on, Rangers fans.

Mike Luna is a Staff Writer for ShutDowninning.com. He can be reached at Mike.Luna@shutdowninning.com or on Twitter @twbbg.

Mike Luna

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