If you don’t think one player makes a difference, just ask the Texas Rangers.
Since losing outfielder and 2010 team MVP Josh Hamilton for the better part of six weeks, the team has lost its last three series, falling to the Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels. The Rangers were without him season for almost a month, yet were able to sustain enough consistency to earn the AL title.
This time around, they can’t seem to find any kind of stride at all. Say what you want about Hamilton being a solid outfielder and one of their best defensive players at the position, but the loss of his bat has left an even bigger void the team just can’t figure out how to replace.
Not that Ian Kinsler, new addition Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz, Elvis Andrus and long-time Ranger Michael Young should be able to shoulder the load but Young seems to be the only guy hitting anything right now.
If you want to know why this team is skidding so badly right now, you only have to look at these numbers. You can blame Colby Lewis missing a start due to the birth of his child which, by the way, was the absolute right decision regardless of what any local radio station might say. You can also blame it on the bullpen which has probably been the biggest problem for this team thus far outside of closer Neftali Feliz.
Wherever you want to place blame make sure you have the facts to back it up. The offense isn’t getting the timely hitting and opposing pitchers are pitching differently to the Ranger hitters because Hamilton isn’t in the lineup.
They need to find a way out of this tailspin or it won’t be long before they’re staring up at the Los Angels of Anaheim too far back to make the kind of progress that will keep them in the race past the All-Star break.
If they don’t find a quick fix, this season will become like every other in Ranger history. Sports talk radio stations will start talking about the Dallas Cowboys in July instead of September, and Ranger baseball will become just a passing thought.