Well, the Texas Rangers came close!
After a week of miracles and walk offs the Rangers weren’t quite able to pull this one out of the hat. Winning a mind-blowing 7 games in a row just wasn’t enough as Texas lost 5-2 to the Tampa Bay Rays in Monday night’s tiebreaker game in Arlington.
Really, no one can say that they are disappointed with the Rangers’ performance in the last week of the regular season. Sweeping the Astros for the first 3 games was easy, but to complete a 4 game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels directly afterwards takes a lot of skill and determination.
Some players really stepped up and produced runs in clutch situations namely Jurickson Profar, Elvis Andrus, and Alex Rios. Rios was playing so well in fact that manager Ron Washington batted him in the three spot for the vital tiebreaker game even though he had just received Nelson Cruz back from his 50-game suspension.
However, should fans be disappointed by the Rangers’ performance on the season as a whole? I’d sure say so. Texas emerged early in the year as one of the dominate teams in the MLB. After having gone to the World Series 2 out of the last 3 years they continued to look like an elite ball club.Going into the All Star Break there was little doubt in my mind that the Rangers would make playoffs again. This started going downhill quickly once September came. Texas went 5-15 over the first 20 games of the month. No team makes playoffs after losing 15 games out of 20. The end of the season push needed to start one or two weeks earlier.
With all of that being said, it is hard to point fingers at one single player or coach who can be held responsible for the demise of the team. First off, this year’s team had to deal with the loss of their superstar outfielder Josh Hamilton. Losing your best player is not a walk in the park recovery so I applaud the Rangers organization for the season they had.
On top of losing Hamilton Texas also lost long time third baseman Michael Young and catcher Mike Napoli, both of who are currently playing on playoff teams. All Star Alexi Ogando also spent half of the season this year on the DL.
After all of these players had left Texas took yet another blow to the chest with the 50 game suspension of Nelson Cruz. It seemed like almost every player who had mattered for Texas had suddenly vanished from the roster.
A lot of attention should be given to Adrian Beltre for the season he had this year. Beltre continues to put up Hall of Fame numbers hitting .315 with 30 homers and a career high 199 hits this year. Going forward, the Rangers should look to base their offensive game plan around this slugger.
At the end of a 91 game victory season (fifth most wins in Rangers history) the Texas Rangers have a lot of be proud of and a lot to regret. Certainly Ron Washington and his staff will be working on finishing out the season strong this offseason. It has been a good year, but a year that ended prematurely.