Friday, October 2, 2009

Wait Till Next Year

We're two games from the end of the season and my team, the Texas Rangers, will be going home when the season ends on Sunday. No playoffs this year, nothing but disappointment. Even if they win the next two games, they will fall short of winning 90 games, which to me--and this is just pretty arbitrary--distinguishes a really good team, 18 games over .500. The team had some key injuries--Josh Hamilton and franchise player Michael Young, who missed 22 games--at the worst possible time . . . September, the stretch run. Young will end the season having one of his best years ever, so it's difficult to believe that he might not have made the difference in at least a few of the games that were lost. Hamilton has been hurt off and on the whole year, and his production was way off.

Coming off a three-game sweep of the Indians on the road, for the 20 games beginning on September 12 and through yesterday, the Rangers managed to win only 7 games. Even worse was that they dropped 5 of 7 games against the Los Angeles Angels during this time, the team they had to beat to have any chance of winning their division. The totals for this sorry stretch are here.

The bright spot this year was, unbelievably for the Rangers, pitching. For the first time a good while the team's pitching staff top to bottom acquitted itself quite creditably. The staff turned in the best ERA since 1993. Also the fewest hits and runs per game since 1990. Overall the pitching has not been this good vis a vis the rest of the league in 12 or 13 years. The hitting, however, was also a surprise: it was for this team, anemic. Team batting average was 11th in the league, OBP 12th, hits 9th, walks 12th, strike outs 1st. Nobody on the team will have 100 RBIs, and assuming Ian Kinsler scores at least one run in the final two games, nobody will have scored 100 runs either. I hope the front office has a productive off-season. We need to put hitting and pitching together for next year.

So it's "wait till next year" again for Texas . . . but for the first time in a long while, next year could very well be the one we're all waiting for.
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