This Rangers team is fun to watch. Fun to follow. Fun to talk about.
And they are having a lot of fun playing.
Fun, that is, for everybody but the manager standing in the opposing dugout.
For him, it’s frustration and failure a few other f-words.
Texas just finished a ten-game road trip at an amazing 8-2. The two games they lost, they scored five runs in each.
But look at the games they won.
The first victory on the road trip came when Prince Fielder hit a two-out, two-strike pitch for a home run to tie the game in the top of the ninth at 1-1. The Rangers ended up winning it in the eleventh. Fielder has struggled all season, and has been a shell of the player he used to be. But that hit may be the one that flipped the switch in the on position for the rest of the year for the Rangers.
Four games later, the Rangers showed their ability to get up off the mat again. Down 5-0 to Sonny Gray, which is like being down 100-0 to most pitchers, they stunned everybody in Oakland Coliseum (and when I say everybody, I mean a total of 100 people, including both teams’ rosters, umpires, vendors, sewage engineers, security guards, and fans) by piling on five quick runs in the fifth, then coming back for a run in the six and a run in the seventh.
Then, they took it to ridiculous proportions the last two games against the Cardinals in St. Louis.
In both games, the Rangers were losing with two outs in the eighth inning, and nobody on base.
And in both games they came alive at that point.
Saturday, they scored four runs from that point on, without a hit driving in a single run (wild pitch, error, sac fly, walk).
And yesterday they loaded the bases in the eighth after two were out, and you could just feel the Rangers mojo again.
But something pretty significant happened at that point. With the pitcher’s spot due up, bases loaded, and two outs, instead of calling on Prince Fielder to pinch hit, Jeff Banister called on Jurickson Profar.
He chose a win over a $27-million-dollar contract.
Profar promptly singled in the tying and go-ahead runs. And the Rangers sweep of the Cardinals was complete.
On the trip, Odor hit two game-winning home runs. Fielder might not contribute much more the rest of the year than the Rangers’ biggest hit of the season. Moreland hit five home runs. Rua and Chirinos had three-RBI games, Elvis had two two-RBI games. Beltre, Mazara, Desmond, and Profar had two-RBI games.
Up and down the lineup, everybody came up big. Especially against the Cardinals.
Interestingly, the Rangers are now 6-0 in St. Louis since the World Series of 2011, having also swept the Cardinals in a three-game series in 2013. (Neal Cotts, Martin Perez and Robbie Ross got the wins in those games. And Joe Nathan saved all three.)
So the team that refuses to fold its tent moves the circus back home, where they really play good baseball, twenty games over .500, for one game against Baltimore, two against Cincinnati and three against Boston.
Let the fun continue.
Kevin Gausman (0-4, 4.14) vs. Derek Holland (5-5, 5.14)
Game time: 7:05 pm