Swept in Oakland.
If there was ever any doubt from anyone but the most optimistic of rose-colored glasses Pollyannas, yesterday’s 7-3 loss to Oakland eliminates any chance of Texas finishing over .500.
It was their eighty-second loss of the season. It will be the Rangers’ third under-.500 finish in five seasons, wrapped around two division championships.
Visiting the Athletics has been a house of horrors for Texas the last two seasons. With this weekend’s sweep, the Rangers finished 3-6 this season in Oakland. That’s after a 1-8 “effort” last season.
It also appears that the Rangers are headed back into a period of irrelevance.
After going ten consecutive seasons, from 2000 to 2010, without a post-season appearance, the Rangers had a nice three-season playoff run going, highlighted by, of course, two World Series appearances. But since The Collapse of 2012, when the Rangers choked up a huge division lead to the Athletics and had to settle for the wild card game, the Rangers have had just two playoff appearances in six seasons. The franchise that cockily declared it was going to build a consistent winner hasn’t been able to do that.
Six more series remain in this lost season. Often times you use these waning, worthless games to look for answers for next year.
The answers may not be evident but the questions are pretty obvious. It’s all about pitching. One nice solution may be revealing itself, though. Jeffrey Springs had another strong outing yesterday, going three scoreless innings to start the game. The twenty-five-year old lefty was the Rangers’ thirtieth round pick in 2015. With the dearth of pitching anywhere near the major league level, he got a chance to prove himself this year. In twelve games and 22.2 innings pitched, he’s struck out 23 and walked only one, giving up just five earned runs, for a 1.99 ERA.
Yes, a Texas Rangers pitcher has an ERA of 1.99. Better yet, he has given up zero home runs to Khris Davis. That might be more unRanger-like than the ERA
Springs is auditioning for a role in the Rangers rotation for 2019.
So far, so good.
Mike Minor (11-7, 4.31) vs. Jaime Barria (10-8, 3.30)
Game time: 9:07