One guy is going so well, he set the franchise record for getting on base in the most consecutive games to start a career.
One guy is going so poorly, he is in danger of setting the franchise record for worst batting average by a regular.
Nick Solak has done nothing but contribute since he was called up ten games ago. After going 2-for-4 last night, with a steal, and a run scored, Solak is now hitting .375, with an OPS of 1.018.
Those are crazy numbers. This game isn’t supposed to be that easy.
After going 0-for-3 last night, Odor is now hitless in his last twenty-eight at-bats. He is hitting just .193, with an evil OPS of .666. Those are tragic numbers. This game isn’t supposed to be that hard.
These two players are like concentric circles going in opposite directions. They share the same point—second base—but they don’t touch.
The franchise record for futility was set in 1975 by catcher Jim Sundberg when he batted .199 in 540 plate appearances (In order to qualify, a batter has to have 3.1 plate appearances for every game his team plays. So, in a 162-game season, that comes out to 502 plate appearances.)
That year Sundberg slapped six home runs, knocked in just 36, and had an OPS of .539. In context, the current Rangers catcher, Jeff Mathis, is hitting .162 with an OPS of .443. Since he is a part-time player he won’t get enough at-bats to qualify.
So, who is in second place behind Sundberg for worst batting average in franchise history? That would be the very same guy gunning for his record. The 2017 version of Rougned Odor, who hit .204 with an OPS of .649.
This is not to pick on Odor. That would be bullying. This is to point out the cruelty and beauty of baseball.
Speaking of such, one name to keep in mind when watching Solak’s meteoric rise: Jake Smolinski.
In 2014, Smolinski, too, was a late-season call up. That season, he got into a total of 24 games. He crushed it, hitting .349 with an OPS of .903.
The following year, reality set in. He hit .193.
This isn’t to say Solak is Smolinski. It’s just a reminder that baseball has a generous side. And baseball has a mean side.
We are seeing that play out first-hand here.
Solak’s first big league game was August 20. Odor’s hitless streak started? You guessed it, August 20.
It’s like yin and yang. Like something out of a superhero movie where the hero saps all the villain’s strength. It seems the better one player does, the worse the other one is.
Baseball is a beautiful, cruel game indeed.
Marco Gonzales (14-10, 4.17) vs. Kolby Allard (2-0, 4.64)
Game time: 7:05