These are the moments you build for.
These are the reasons you sign them to those salaries.
These are the reasons you trade for them.
Sure, when you acquire a guy like Cole Hamels and you go out and pay for a guy like Yu Davish, you are doing it for their regular season performance. But that is green’s fees for getting you into the Masters. It’s all about making the playoffs, to take you to the Promises Land.
You hear it all the time, starting around July, and heading into the dog days of the season, “He’s lining up to be my Game 1 starter. And that guy will be my Game 2 starter.”
You play the 162 for the 3, 4, 4.
But they are different animals. I don’t know why that is, but it is.
Playoff baseball is different. You hope what your team gave you in the 162 they can bring with them in the best of five. But it doesn’t always happen. Because the other team is trying to win it just as much as you are. Often, the other team brings more.
For all the agonizing over who would be the Game 3 and Game 4 starters—would it be Lewis, or Perez, or Holland, or Griffin?—there was never any doubt about Games 1 or 2.
Jeff Banister did what he was supposed to do. He ran Cole Hamels out for Game 1. He ran Yu Darvish out for Game 2. Both of them crapped the bed. Both of them dropped their meat in the dirt. Both of them, in the vernacular of the sports fan, sucked.
A manager can only do so much. It’s up to his players to perform.
And for two games, the Rangers simply haven’t.
No RBIs in two games from Beltran, Beltre, Odor or Lucroy. When it was time to step up, they didn’t.
Rangers hitters went 2-for-18 with runners in scoring position in Game 2. When it was time to get it done, they couldn’t.
They had Blue Jays’ starter J. A. Happ on the ropes, but let him off. They left thirteen runners on base. He pitched brilliantly poor. He allowed a lot of runners to get one, but when it came time to get the out, he got the out.
Yu Darvish, on the other hand, fell behind to Blue Jays hitters and asked his fastball to get him out. His fastball replied, “no.” Four fastballs, all hit over the fence.
One pitcher threw when he really needed to. One pitcher fell apart.
For all the slogans and all the talk, it comes down to getting it done when the chances come your way in the playoffs, and the Rangers haven’t.
Simple as that.
They did it in the 162, and that was fun. But that doesn’t count for anything now.
The team in the other dugout is better. The wins in the regular season mean absolutely nothing.
You can say, well, if Cole hadn’t given up seven runs and if Darvish hadn’t given up four home runs— But, they did. And the Blue Jays didn’t.
Yes the Rangers were better in the 162. But that was last season. This is the post-season. And the Rangers are a last-place team in this season.
And they have only themselves to blame. They apparently don’t want it as much as the Blue Jays.
Simple as that.