Bragging time. I married up. In addition to being an excellent mother and person, my wife loves sports.
She went to her first Rangers game of the year last week, an evening with some work friends and colleagues. My wife hasn’t really had time to follow the Rangers much this season between career and kids, but she has always been a big baseball fan. She had an enjoyable evening, though more so for the company than the entertainment on the field. When she got home, she had five words for me after saying hello.
“This team is really bad.”
My wife would give Captain Obvious a run for his money. The Perceptible Fairy too.
Seriously though, my wife knows the game and appreciates good baseball. (Yes, I know – I’m lucky). She doesn’t have time for bad baseball. And there’s too much of that going on.
The Rangers have the (gulp) worst record in baseball at 38-57. Even the Astros are looking in their rearview mirror at the ball club, having passed their interstate rival with a three-game sweep in Arlington last week. There is no truth to the rumor that Nolan Ryan was overheard yelling, “Floor it!” from his office in Houston.
My, how much difference a month makes. On June 16, the Rangers earned a 14-8 win at Oakland, giving them a 35-35 record, seven games back of the division-leading A’s. Since then, Texas has gone 3-22, which is tied for the worst 25-game stretch in franchise history.
That seven-game deficit in the division was tripled to 21 games back. Texas has scored 88 runs in that span while giving up a whopping 162. The Rangers have lost eight games in a row, twice. The last eight-game losing streak – 2005. If Texas’ winning percentage holds true the rest of the season, they’ll only win 64 games.
Ian Kinsler has to be enjoying this. His wish for the team to go 0-162 was tongue-in-cheek, but the realistic worst-case scenario is developing before our very eyes.
One of the main culprits – 1,213 man-games lost due to injury. That’s the most ever at the All-Star Break of any MLB team in the last 30 years. Texas has 15 players currently on the disabled list. We’re not into excuses, but goodness. Ryan and Kinsler must have voodoo dolls of Jon Daniels or the Rangers GM must have crashed into a truckload of mirrors during the off-season with this much bad luck.
Yes, this team might easily lose 90+ games, not a good thing when that number was expected to be accumulated in the win column. In fact, Texas and Tampa Bay are the only two teams in baseball to win 90+ in each of the last four years.
Not this year.
It’s amazing and then again, it’s not so amazing. Such is the fine line that every team in baseball walks. All it takes is a few key injuries here and there or a slump along the lineup that lingers too long.
So what now? Clearly Daniels’ focus is on 2015. We’re two weeks away from the non-waiver trade deadline and Jason Frasor was the first to go, traded to Kansas City on Wednesday for a triple-A prospect.
Who’s next? Who would Capt. Obvious trade? Closer Joakim Soria is a coveted piece who could bring a sizable package back to Arlington. Neal Cotts is also a probable trade target. Personally I would be surprised if Alex Rios wasn’t dealt.
The more clear answer is who NOT to trade – Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus nor Yu Darvish. Nope. I’ve even heard slight rumblings of the Rangers being BUYERS this month, attempting to land David Price from Tampa Bay or Giancarlo Stanton from Miami. Why? Because both are under team control next year (Stanton for two more years) and Daniels feels confident that he can sign either to an extension to stay in Texas. But the price (no pun intended) would be hefty. I hear Daniels might have a very high draft pick in 2015, though, if he so chooses to bargain.
The good news – Boston holds the mark for the second-most man-games lost due to injury at the All-Star Break in 2012 at 956, and came back to win the World Series the next season. So it is possible for a team to resurrect from the dead. But I wouldn’t count on it.
Somewhere Ian Kinsler is laughing. And my wife is not amused.