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Friday, August 1, 2014

O, woe is me, to have seen what I have seen, see what I see...


Whats the matter, smart ass? You don't know any fuckin' Shakespeare?


STILL not a literature blog. Promise.




Haha. Almost exactly 2 months ago these Texas Rangers were sitting at .500. IF we remember correctly, June and July have been the months that have been known to truly test these Rangers teams in recent years. When you've won 90+ games for 4 straight years you find a way to stay afloat until August and September and this Rangers team had definitely done that in recent seasons. This isn't one of those years...




As we all very, very well know (at this point) 2014 has been a bit of deviation from this practice...to say the least. Not only did the Rangers not weather the storm of their many, many injuries early in the season they actually managed to compound them with more. You know that story already though. There's no need to expound any further on our palpable lack of health. Back to 2 months ago, since June 1st these Rangers have gone 15-37...



Single digit win months in June and July will do that, but I think the absolute worst part of this season is listening to casual baseball/Ranger fans and even Astros fans chime in with their incomprehensible and underhanded facetious sports takes/opinions such as:



"Braves and Reds also have had about as many injuries as the Rangers, yet they're still in their pennant races. "
(actual comment from a moron)





Wow the Rangers actually won a game?




Aren't the Rangers trailing the Astros right now?






Glad we're out of bizzaro world. It lasted 5 years but the Astros above the Rangers is what everybody is used to anyway.
(another actual comment)



...and so on and so fof, as Emmitt Smith would say. Now this is clearly (through no fault of their own) the worst Rangers team I've seen in many, many years. They are as bad as those 2000-2003 Rangers, yet as competitive as those 2005-2008 Rangers (how's that for a conundrum?), but I can't even walk into a bar anymore wearing a Rangers shirt when a Rangers game is on without hearing some uninformed bullshit...




I mean, okay, there are magicians at the Ballpark from time to time...




Sometimes the circus shows up...





Yet, I really have no issue watching some of these absolutely awful losses lately because...lets face it...this team was bad for the majority of its existence and by extension the time I have watched them. We already know what kind of market we're living in. The Dallas market is a fickle one. They love a winner. So its no surprise that we now see attendance and ratings dropping. Somewhere Josh Hamilton is smiling...


A creepy smile.


Those of us that are still watching these games can at least commiserate, but instead of lamenting our terrible losing history we can at least point to our very recent success as a silver lining...





What's that they say? Texas Rangers fans are a cult? Every week they meet at the Temple...



True fans that is...


You see unlike our beloved Dallas Cowboys who never seem to be bad enough to truly rebuild or good enough to actually get over the top; these 2014 Rangers get a chance to not rebuild, but reload. Remember the 2012 Red Sox? They lost 93 games due to injuries and other issues and a year later they were World Series Champions. The Rangers as of today (and many days prior) are the worst team in baseball, but if you happen to be in the unfortunate position of being one of the 10 worst teams in the MLB it does typically payoff. Somehow, if I'm not mistaken, this will be the highest draft pick JD has had in his tenure. Additionally, also, unlike the Cowboys the Rangers always, always, always take the best player available. That's why we have so many flippin' infielders. Jimmy Johnson built his teams by always taking the best player available too, by the way. Hmm...





Now I don't mean to mislead you either, Rangers fans. I am no proponent of tanking in any degree in any sport. It's actually surprisingly easy to do in baseball if you think about it. Many times it's not even on purpose. Just ask the Astros with their 300+ losses since 2011. When you're rolling out a bunch of double and triple A players everyday to 'see what you have' losing, unsurprisingly, tends to happen...



There are also certain teams that have been historically bad in baseball. In fact, most of these teams are out of it by July. They can't be bad forever though, right? We were usually one of those teams in case you'd forgotten...



It inexorably falls into the hands of the GM, though. Since the proverbial 'fall' of the Evil Empire, baseball has been one of the least 'dynastic' of all the major sports (I'm not including hockey for our purposes here). Small market teams can reach the World Series. It's also almost unheard of to repeat as World Series Champions in the here and now. Well, I'm here to tell you that with the moves Billy Beane has made in the last month or so I feel like it has signaled the end of  'moneyball'...




Moneyball sells books and movie tickets, but does it win the World Series? I'm also not suggesting by any means that, like in other sports, there are 'super' teams in baseball nowadays...





...unless you count what the Phillies did a couple of years ago with their 5 aces and what the Yankees tried to do this year (or every year for that matter). Look at that Detroit Tigers starting rotation and tell me that's not a 'fantasy' rotation, though (the last 3 Cy Young winners are in their rotation)...






So, maybe the A's or Tigers win the World Series this year by technically 'buying' it (or renting it? haha) and maybe they don't, but either way it affects our Rangers and in the case of the Tigers we might actually be directly responsible (Soria, Kins). Maybe the A's aren't the A's in 2015 and 2016 and 2017 because of 2014...



Anyway, since we've been looking ahead to 2015 since around the end of June, what is our team looking like in what feels like a year long spring training? Well JD had some really telling comments recently; informing us that Prince may have been rushed back this year if we would have stayed in the race. Also, he has shut down Profar, Kouz, Ogando, and Scheppers for the rest of the year. The Rangers did nothing at the deadline and are now looking at exercising the options on, willing to bet money would be former Rangers, Alex Rios and Neal Cotts. These, actually, wouldn't be the worst moves in the world (I think). I still feel like teams in the stretch run could have used either player...





Even so, before the non waiver deadline they traded Jason Frasor and Joakim Soria for 3 arms, whom might immediately help in the bullpen and rotation. One even looks to be a potential closer.  In fact, I'd say when next year rolls around we'll be discussing the closer role being a dogfight between Scheppers, Feliz, and Knebel. Lets not forget about Roman Mendez either in that bullpen...




What about our starting 5? Here's where things get sketchy. I mean if JD is going to shut down all those players for this year why not Holland as well? What are 6-8 starts gonna do for him this year? Oh well. We'll probably experience a bit of deja-vu in 2015. Darvish, Holland, Perez, Harrison? Sounds like a great rotation! In reality we're just hoping those guys are healthy and ready to go by then. No one could have predicted what we've seen this year. What's left? The 2 Nicks? Promising, but they still need work. Colby, despite recent success, will probably be out of the mix for next year. Thompson (from Detroit)? See: the 2 Nicks. Do we finally try and see what we have in Luke Jackson? I'm rooting for all these guys to succeed. If the Rangers are going to compete again in 2015 some of these guys are going to have to aggressively seize their spot...






The back end of the rotation will eventually work itself out, but who knows. Maybe the Rangers flirt with Max Scherzer or Jon Lester a little bit...





Stranger things have happened...




What about our lack of quality depth in the outfield? Is Leo finally ready to be our everyday center fielder? We're locked in with a healthy Choo at left. With Rios staying in the fold I assume that he'll be the starter at right. What about Choice, Aducci, Smolinski, and Engel Beltre? Do the Rangers go out and make a move for someone in free agency? The biggest name is probably Nelly Cruz (who sat on our porch all winter) and his 29 HRs...






What about the logjam in the infield (again)? We have 4 players right now that could play 2nd or short. Even though it's a good problem to have we said the same thing last year and subsequently removed Ian Kinsler from the equation. So now it's Elvis, Profar, Roogie, and Luis Sardinas. Then I hear rumblings that Elvis would be the perfect replacement for Derek Jeter...


No. Just no...

I certainly believe it would make us all sad to see Elvis go, but it would definitely be in keeping with this Rangers team and their 'Sith' philosophy. The apprentice always destroys the master...


Always two there are...


Just ask Michael Young and Ian Kinsler how that worked out for them.



What of Joey Gallo? When will we finally see him knock it out of the park? Literally...

So many, many questions for this Rangers team going forward, but cheer up Rangers fans. Better days are coming. I promise...





So what we really need now is for the 2014 AND 2015 Texas Rangers to bring it!






Haha. Okay okay!










Bring on the Tribe, then!






















Friday, July 4, 2014

It was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it WAS the spring of hope...

No, we aren't so disillusioned that we turned this into a literature blog overnight. Fear not, Rangers fans. This is still merely A Tale of ONE shitty Rangers team...





Haha. Alright that might be a bit harsh, but somewhere during Ian Kinsler's wave to our dugout (thus waving goodbye to our chances this season)


^ this guy

...and betwixt Leo robbing Nelly Cruz of his 27th HR (goddamn!).





...this team pretty much hit rock bottom.





About a month ago, I said June would be a make or break month. Well, unfortunately it turned out to be the latter. A 3-6 homestand to begin the month saw the Rangers lose 3 of 4 against the lowly Cleveland Indians, the lowlight there being a 17-7 beating. What about that mid-month 9 game AL West road trip we deemed so important? Well, it began promising enough at 3-1 against the M's and a single 14-8 slugfest victory at Oakland, but that was pretty much all she wrote for June. An 8 game losing streak ensued...





At the time of this post the Rangers have lost 13 of their last 15 games. They have one of the worst run differentials in all the majors. They're terrible at home. They're terrible on the road. They're 11 games under .500 for the first time since September of 2007. They went 9-17 in the month of June; their worst June since 2003 when they went a sad 7-20...




Oh and those 9 games they won? Yu Darvish started 4 of them...





Even Yu himself faltered at Oakland and at Anaheim during our losing streak (taking the loss in both starts) though, but what more can you really ask from the guy? To be perfect every time out? It pretty much appears that way the way this year's going. After all, here's a pitching staff has given up 6 or more runs in 13 of the last 28 games. The rest of the numbers aren't much better; being dead last in BAA (.281) and team ERA (4.62). They're, of course, still fielding terribly with 60 errors. Compare that with last year when the Rangers posted 86 errors the entire year and 85 the year prior.



The news isn't all bad, Rangers fans. We have definitely seen signs of improvement/encouragement in the 2 Nicks. If nothing else, we're getting a basic idea in what we have in Tepesch and Martinez going forward. Here's a couple of guys that shouldn't even be pitching at this level if we're being honest with ourselves.



Joe Saunders was becoming more and more painful to watch on the bump start after start, and you'd much rather see a youngster get those opportunities since Saunders just continued to get rocked. So, to say we're happy to see him go is an understatement. There's a reason guys like him are just sitting around waiting in March. I'd also go further and say half the reason the Rangers stretch out guys like Ross and Scheppers, and stretched out Feliz, Ogando, and Wilson in the past was purely from a monetary standpoint. I mean, you can sign a veteran guy like Saunders to an incentive laden contract just hoping he helps your club, but instead he goes 0-5 with a 6 point ERA, gets DFAed in June, and you paid the clown a million dollars...





Of course looking internally can and will work out for your team like in the case of C.J Wilson. His inevitable pay day certainly came in 2011 with Anaheim to the tune of 5 years and 75 million though...





Colby is one of Wash's "guys" and I, myself, give him the benefit of the doubt as well. The guy is a postseason hero around these parts, but I'm not sure how much longer they can stick with him...


He pitched game 6 though!! Haha

Now, as for this Rangers offense I'm pretty much sounding like a broken record describing them. They're still not hitting the ball out of the park and are pretty mediocre as a team overall. Again, if we're being honest with ourselves we know many of these guys shouldn't be at this level either...or at the very least not practically playing everyday (Choice). Elvis is struggling at the plate and also uncharacteristically in the field (10 errors). Though he can still do this when he wants to...




Beltre is enjoying another great season and trade bait Alex Rios is having a solid 2014. Shin Soo Choo is still playing as advertised and 'chuggin' along...


Turn down for what?!?

Leonys Martin has been up and down and Michael Choice is really, really struggling. Now, Ron Washington will tell you that ANYTHING he gets out of the catcher position offensively is a premium. I'll say it is. One's hitting close to .300 and the other has given you 7 HRs. Sooo, for now the tandem of Gimenez/Chirinos has allowed us to not miss Geovany Soto too much. Chirinos gunning down 21 base runners behind the dish doesn't hurt either...


Or the occasional napping baserunner...

Adam Rosales recently got the call up since presumably Luis Sardinas would be better served playing everyday at Round Rock. Rougned Odor has more or less played everyday at 2nd for the Rangers and played pretty well. The Rangers brought in the struggling Carlos Pena to be their 6th first baseman this season. SIXTH! Again, there's a reason guys like him are sitting around at home in May...





So, there's plenty of bad and the bright spots are few. There's really nothing you can say about this team right now given the expectations. We're not where we thought we would be for sure. They've fallen way out of the Division and Wild Card races and you could make a case that we were never really in either race. They've failed to win 40 games this season to this point, a feat which they've typically accomplished by mid-June in this, the greatest era of Rangers baseball. I even hear Rangers fans trying to put this on Wash, but is that fair?





The reality is that this decimated Rangers club finally, mercifully succumbed to the dog days of summer. Name me a manager that could have kept this mess afloat as long as Wash did...


Don't worry. I'll wait...


Last month I also said something (else) would have to go horribly wrong for this team to be sellers at the deadline, but the reality is that they should probably should be. Now JD says they're listening to any and all offers, but if we think logically and use our 'GM decoder' we realize only a few guys really lift out (Cotts, Soria, Rios). You know what 'sleazeball' JD would say to us though...





Haha. Anyway. Though I'm hoping the return of guys like Kevin Kouzmanoff, Derek Holland, Jim Adduci and Geovany Soto give this team a boost in the coming months, for the short term it looks like we'll be fending off the last place Astros. That makes the 3 games in Arlington next week against them, the anti-World Series. Think about that. If I told you in March that as we approached the deadline the Astros would be trailing us by 2 games you'd think Houston had some monumental, earth shaking turnaround (which they kinda have relatively speaking)...


Yeah...those Astros.


Now if we lose that series it would finally be the damn fatality this season has been begging for...




I don't want to kid myself about this team and the potential it still has to be really bad, but how can these Rangers AND the 2015 Rangers be recalled to life? After all that's the reason we're not outright sellers at the deadline, correct? We believe that health and a little luck will get us back to the postseason and beyond. If I think about those 2 great Rangers pennant winning teams, they always seemed to have a 'Superman' (I also previously described this guy as a He-Man haha); be it Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz or to a lesser extent, Mike Napoli. I suppose you can make a case that Prince could still be that guy for us even after his disastrous 2014 season. Prince played with such a guy in Detroit in Miguel Cabrera, by the way. Sure there are great teams like the A's and the Giants that don't necessarily have that prototypical type of guy, but look around the league and I promise you, you'll find this guy on a winning team more often than not. We just have to look...




Much like early last season when this team needed a guy to emerge as an Ace and Yu Darvish did just that; I think he's here somewhere in the system, and it really shouldn't take much searching. A Ranger resurrection may depend on it...





Now, I know it's a long season and even longer when you know you're out of it, but lets all try and stay the course, Rangers fans...


YOU be cool.

I know we've seen better days, but we've definitely seen worse days...



I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss...

...in their triumphs and defeats, through long years to come...


A Bastille the Ballpark is not! We need not storm it! Haha. For now we continue our (losing) east coast road trip with 3 over the weekend in interleague play at the lowly Mets and once again these Rangers will be on the national stage on Saturday. As bad as this season has been, hey...at least we're not the Mets...





Haha...







Bring on the Mets, I guess...