Thursday, September 17, 2009

Not with a bang, but with a whimper.

It's been a bad week for the Texas Rangers, easily their worst of the season and, arguably, one of their worst in history. After winning three road games against Cleveland within a span of 19 hours, a sweep which brought them to within just 1.5 games of the Boston Red Sox for the AL Wild Card spot, and games in which they scored over 10 runs in each, the Rangers have now gone 1-5. During that same stretch, the Red Sox have gone 5-0 and are in the middle of a 7-game win streak. Yeah, that's not good.

Even worse, the Rangers have now scored just 1 run in their last 37 innings. Yikes! Yes, the pitching hasn't been exactly razor sharp either, but it's certainly been good enough to avoid 1-5 if the offense simply produced at an average level. The Rangers Blog at Dallas Morning News had some horrifying statistics about this team's offensive woes:

*It's just the second time in club history that the Rangers have been shut out three times in a four-game span.

*It's the lowest run total in a four-game span since the club moved to Texas in 1972.

*The 10 shutouts this season are the most by a Rangers team since the 2003 squad was blanked 11 times.

*It's the third time this season the Rangers have been one hit.

Yes, the Rangers have been without Michael Young and Josh Hamilton, arguably their two best hitters, but these are horrendous numbers to be posting against a mediocre team like the Oakland the throes of a playoff race. Not to make excuses, but it's a young team obviously. Very young. And if you have to replace two in-their-prime veterans from the lineup like Young and Hamilton, you court disaster when you run six guys out there who have fewer than 1,000 career ABs. That's what they did last night, and they got just 1 hit.

So it's over. Or is it?

As dark as the playoff prospects may seem for the Rangers, there is a glimmer of hope. Two of the wins by the Red Sox have come against the AL West-leading Los Angeles Angels. Even as I write this, the Red Sox are beating them for a third straight time. If the Red Sox complete the sweep, Texas will be 5.5 games behind the Angels. With just 17 games left in the season, that's a stout lead to have to overcome. Except...look who comes to Texas tomorrow night. Why it's the Angels, of course...a team the Rangers have simply dominated this season to the tune of a 9-3 record. However unlikely, a 3-game sweep this weekend would propel Texas back to 2.5 games out. The Angels would return home, but then they have to tangle with the best team in baseball...the Yankees. After that they face the same Oakland Athletics that dominated Texas this week. And after that they wrap the season with a 3-game series against...the Texas Rangers.

It aint easy. It aint likely. And it aint gonna be pretty. But it also aint over.


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