Some teams earn the nickname “cardiac kids” for their uncanny ability to come back in heart-stopping, clutch situations. If they are down in the ninth, you just know they are going to come back. Never say die.
The 2015 Rangers? When it comes to drama, the outcome of their games, win or lose, is usually decided by the fourth inning.
In fact, in eighty percent of their games, the score after the fourth inning determines the outcome of the game.
What that means is, Rangers games this year have all the drama of C-SPAN coverage of a Congressional hearing on unleaded fuel.
In games the Rangers have played this season, if the Rangers are down after four innings, there’s an 80% chance they will lose, and if they are up after the fourth inning, there’s a 80% chance they will win.
There have been very few walk off wins, very few late-inning rallies, very few never-say-die ninths. And most of the losses that came after they were leading after four innings happened early in the season when the bullpen was manned with philanthropists who gladly gave away the riches of their leads.
The Rangers motto for 2015 is “Never ever quit.” That certainly doesn’t apply to coming from behind in games.
While winning and being in first place has been unbelievably thrilling to watch this season, the reality is, Rangers games haven’t been. After the fourth, you pretty much know who won.
Last night, luckily, was an exception to this year’s very odd rule. The Rangers trailed 5-2 after the fourth inning, and Martin Perez was awful, to put it politely.
But the bats came alive and the incredibly resurgent Rangers bullpen was stingy once again. So rather than folding up their tent after the fourth, the Rangers unloaded. In unfamiliar come-from-behind mode, they scored two in the fifth off yet another Mitch Moreland home run, three in the sixth off a slew of sacrifice flies and sacrifice bunts, and two more in the eighth. It was another game in this great end-of-the-season run where they had a total team effort on offense.
If you went to bed early, you will, for once, be pleasantly surprised the game didn’t end up like it was when you dozed off.
Because, the Rangers didn’t doze off as well.
Instead, they won 8-6, they gained important breathing room over Houston by going two up, and they got this final road trip started on the right foot.
Oh, and they had some rare drama. That was nice.
YOGI BERRA: 1925-2015.
Rest in peace, Yogi. One of the truly wonderful characters in baseball.