After Drew Stubbs and Shin-Soo Choo went on the DL on the same day, and the Rangers did not call up Delino DeShields, one thing was obvious. It would seem DeShields’s days as a Ranger are numbered. And that number might be 0.
If that’s the case, it is totally justifiable and understandable.
And, if that’s the case, I want to thank DeShields for what he did for the Rangers.
He was the sparkplug that helped the Rangers turn around not just their season last year but, you could say to a great extent, their credibility. This was a team that had been on a quick slide down since their World Series years of 2010 and 2011, so bad that only a miracle kept them from losing 100 games in 2014.
They started 2015 even worse.
The 2015 team that began the season was bad. The front office had ignored Darvish’s injury the year before, had ignored the bullpen, and had done nothing to address the gaping hole in left field and center field.
But Delino DeShields, a Rule 5 Draft pick, surprised everyone by forcing his way into the leadoff spot.
I wrote about it last year, about one at-bat that catapulted the Rangers out of their funk and that sealed DeShields’s starting assignment.
The Rangers were buried in last place, and playing the high-flying Astros. It was not a fair fight. Five weeks into the season, Texas was already nine-and-one-half games behind the Astros.
Down 1-0 to a totally dominating Dallas Keuchel, who already had punched out ten lifeless, listless Rangers, Delino DeShields fought off pitch after pitch after pitch to coax a walk. Then he stole second. Then he came home on a rare hit with a runner in scoring position. And, the Rangers somehow managed to win the game.
And from that point on, the leadoff hitter for the Rangers was Delino DeShields. You can trace the trajectory of the Rangers climb from last to first from that point on, from that at-bat, from that spark. DeShields brought speed and life and energy to the team.
Without DeShields leading off, the Rangers do not win the division in 2015.
If we are seeing the last of him in a Rangers’ uniform, it’s understandable. That’s baseball. It can be cruel, but that’s how it works. You have to perform.
And, if we are seeing the last of him in a Rangers’ uniform, at least we got to see the best of him.
And at least, to a great deal because of him, we got to see October baseball. We hadn’t seen that in a long time.
Jonathon Niese (4-2, 4.75) vs. Cole Hamels (5-0, 2.83)
Game time: 7:05