The Texas Rangers have a decision to make, one they might already be familiar with. It’s one they had to make this time last year when the AL West division lead continued to diminish and the Oakland Athletics crept ever closer.
I’ll quote the great Dwayne Johnson in the movie “The Rundown”: You’ve got two options. Option A? Win and control your own destiny. Option B? Continue to play lackluster baseball, pack in the rest of your season, and try again next year.
There’s no Option C.
As Dallas News’ beat writer Evan Grant pointed out the other day, the Rangers blew the World Series in 2011, the division in 2012, and look that much closer to blowing the wild card in 2013.
You can look at whatever numbers you want to look at and stare at a computer screen until you’re rubbing your eyes from exhaustion. The Texas Rangers, whether you want to admit it or not, are exactly what we all believe them to be.
And for those who thought it would be appropriate to quote former NFL head coach Dennis Green right here, I thought about it. If the Rangers find some fight in them and take the division back, Green might take the podium and speak that quote for the A’s.
It’s the middle of September and we’re watching a repeat of what happened this time last year — small sample size be damned.
No, last year has no bearing on this season, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t watching history repeat itself.
You can sit in your disbelief and tell yourself these games don’t matter, even as you look at the team that’s lost nine of their last 12 which includes losing two of three to the Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics, then getting swept by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
This isn’t the same team or the same lineup or the same rotation from a year ago, but history is repeating itself nonetheless.
I was asked by a good friend Wednesday afternoon if this team had another good streak in them. I had to think hard for a second because something inside of me wanted to say yes, even though I knew what the real answer was going to be.
We want to believe; we want to think this team is capable of putting together a last-ditch effort to take back the division title, to sneak away with the trophy like Oakland did to the Rangers in 2012.
But we know full well what’s transpiring right in front of us. We know what we’re seeing on the field isn’t a team that’s going to compete for a division crown and one that’ll be lucky to back into the playoffs as a wild-card team.
The offense hasn’t been there, but I’ve been saying since before this month began they’d be lucky to average three to five runs per game the rest of the way. Sure, Yu Darvish came up with a tremendous, even much needed, start against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night only for his offense to take the day off.
The next two games saw two different rallies come up short and a Matt Garza start that made some take the easy “I told you we shouldn’t have acquired that guy” stance after the right-hander lasted just four innings.
Nothing is going right for this team, and time is running out for them to right a sinking ship.
The offense needs to give the starters a reason not to believe they have to shut teams out just to have a chance. The pitching can’t put their offense in an early hole that most of us know they won’t be able to climb out of. The defense can’t boot routine double plays like Elvis Andrus did on Wednesday afternoon.
Things need to start going right for this team and soon. There aren’t many chances left for them to turn things around and get back into a race they look way out of despite what the standings say on paper.
Even if the Rangers make it to the playoffs, some how some way, what makes anyone think they’ll survive the first round?
At this point, with Darvish possibly the only one who could come up with a good start, and the offense not exactly lighting the baseball world on fire, what do they have that could give them an edge over anyone else? If Nelson Cruz returns, does he provide that much of a spark to give Texas a fighting chance?
I won’t say it. Not yet. But I’m close.
The ship is sinking and the lifeboats have been put in the water. Are you jumping ship? Or do you think this team might have a little something left?
If you do, can you share that little something with the rest of the class?