The Rangers have been invincible lately. It seems, though, that there is one thing that can beat them: Bad luck.
In last night’s 3-1 loss to Seattle, the Rangers saw a lot of bad luck piled on top of bad luck.
With two on and two out in the top of the second, a bad luck bounce down the third-base line off the bat of Ketel Marte scored two runs. Whether it was fair or foul was a matter of debate. Third base umpire Jeff Guccione took the podium representing the affirmative side. Rangers manager Jeff Banister represented the negative. Guccione won.
With bases loaded and only one out in the fifth, and right after Prince Fielder walked to send the first run across the plate, the Rangers had starter James Paxton on the ropes. In fact, they knocked him out of the ring. This is exactly the sort of moment the Rangers have capitalized on since they got good. But, this time, bad luck won out. Mike Napoli grounded into a double play and the best rally the Rangers had ended 4-6-3.
Then, in the eighth, trying to stage one more valiant effort, after Adrian Beltre walked, Fielder hit a double play ground ball to Logan Morrison. His glove got in the way. When the ball stopped rolling it was first and second, no outs. The next pitch skipped away from the catcher and Beltre stole third, was called safe, then ruled out.
With that, the air left the rally. And the win streak left the building. As Gerry Fraley of The Dallas Morning News said, the Rangers played “flat.”
Bad luck has a way of flattening things out.
There’s an old expression, uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. Maybe this is what happens when the Rangers are suddenly the team with the target on its back.That target is heavy.
Luckily, the Astros lost last night as well.
So maybe not all the luck was bad.
One thing is for certain, nobody can accuse Yovani Gallardo of being an innings eater. In his last fourteen starts, he has gotten into the sixth inning just three times:
Since July 2, Gallardo’s starts are on summer hours. In those starts, he has lasted: 6.0 innings, 5.2, 5.2, 4.0, 4.0, 6.0, 5.0, 5.2, 5.1, 6.0, 5.1, 5.0, 5.1, and 4.1.
While he is just 5-5 in that stretch, at least the Rangers are 9-5. That is a testament to the Rangers remade bullpen. They are having to finish off the rest of the innings on Gallardo’s plate, but they are getting the job done.