The Colorado Rockies have had more hits than Elvis against the Rangers. I mean Elvis Presley, not Andrus. Prior to this home stand the A’s played three here and had more hits than the Beatles. Meantime the Rangers have only managed more hits than the Baha Men (Who you ask? Exactly). Which begs the question, after a better than expected April, Who Let the Dogs out in May?
Let us examine the realities of the season so far.
Reality: The team is flirting with .500. In fact Wednesday night they dipped to .500. It marked the latest this team has been .500 or below since….wait for it…May 21, 2011. Anybody remember how the 2011 season ended? That year late May marked the return to the line-up of Nelson Cruz and Josh Hamilton. This year they have used 35 players. Only four other major league teams have used that many.
Reality: Because of injuries, the starting rotation was cobbled together with pieces that were supposed to be in the bullpen. To wit, Tanner Scheppers and Robbie Ross. In Scheppers”s case it was quickly apparent that he was more suited for a prominent role in the bullpen. He mastered the 8th inning last year and will likely return to that role when he is healthy. But with him starting, the rotation was weakened because he is not as good as Colby Lewis or Matt Harrison. And the bull pen was compromised because no one has been as good as Tanner in the 8th.
You could say similar things about Ross. He has had a couple of good starts, but when Derek Holland is back don’t be surprised to see Ross back where he belongs, a lefty specialist coming out of the pen.
Reality: The middle of the batting order has been anemic. Adrian Beltre has only 2 home runs as does Prince Fielder. Neither is hitting the ball like we expected them to. Beltre has shown signs of snapping out of his malaise. Prince has not. But baseball people remain confident that Fielder will seek his level. He is a guy capable of 35 home runs and 100 RBI per year. Mark McLemore told me on Rangers Live last night that he still expects Prince to reach that level. Track record is so important in baseball. Prince and Adrian have track records.
Reality: Nobody in the clubhouse is worried or frustrated. There are enough veterans in there to remind any who exhibits signs of concern that this is a marathon not a sprint, and they truly believe there is no reason to worry. I have heard several fans say they wish they would see a little frustration (read: fire) out of the players. You don’t want to see them frustrated. Frustration is a four letter word in baseball. If you fail 65% of your trips to the plate you are a huge success. You cannot allow yourself to get frustrated when failure is so prevalent.
In short, I still believe the Rangers are playoff team, more importantly they believe it. Perhaps by the end of the year they will have a hit than like Queen’s We Are the Champions.