It Only Takes One

It’s sometimes difficult to be level-headed as a baseball fan. With a 162 game season, it is easy to overreact to a period of particularly poor or exceptional baseball.

Unfortunately, the Rangers have recently suffered through a bit of bad baseball. From May 14-May 30, they went 8-8. That may not sound so bad, but when you consider the opponents, it is quite disappointing. That 8-8 record came against the Royals, A’s, Astros, Mariners, and Blue Jays.

What is even more frustrating is that during that same period of time, the Angels went 10-6 against the A’s, White Sox, Padres, Mariners, and Yankees.

After that span of games, the Rangers and Angels faced off in a three game series. The Angels took two of three and closed the division gap to 4.5 games. While that sounds bad, I don’t find it quite as discouraging.

The first game of the series was taken by Anaheim when Ian Kinsler made an uncharacteristic error that would have been the third out of the seventh inning. Instead, it put runners at the corners. Mike Trout hit a two-run single, and those two runs ended up winning the game.

Game two of the series was completely given away by Texas. They recorded three errors (one each by Andrus, Beltre, and Napoli), which really should have been four (another by Napoli). In addition, they were the victims of four double plays. It was one of those games that you’re just not meant to win.

After the second game, Texas held a closed door team meeting. It was no surprise to anybody that had watched the team play the past month. The defense had been sloppy and the pitching had been poor.

Apparently the meeting worked, because the Rangers looked much more like themselves for game three of the set. The bats were lively, the defense was crisp, and Matt Harrison looked like the pitcher we all know he can be. Aside from leaving 10 men on base in the first six innings, this game was what we all wanted to see from Texas. There were defensive gems from Elvis Andrus, a monster homerun from Nelson Cruz, and great pitching from everyone but Alexi Ogando (that dude’s just not right).

While it’s easy to look at the record in Anaheim and be discouraged, I prefer to look at the overall picture. Texas did not play their brand of baseball in the second game of the series, and could have easily won that game. If game three of the series is any indication, they are back to playing the kind of ball we all want to see. If that’s the case, I fully expect the division lead to do nothing but grow over the next few weeks.

It may just be one game, but I prefer to think the Rangers are back.

Chris Kautz is a Senior Staff Writer for ShutDowninning. He can be reached at Chris.Kautz@ShutDowninning.com or on Twitter @SDIChris.
Chris Kautz

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