Some tough decisions coming up. 326 comments

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The Angels get their 97th hit of the game, sweeping the Rangers by a combined score of 375-8.


One question: Was the end of 2014 a fluke?

I am talking about the 22 games Tim Bogar managed after Ron Washington resigned. The 22 games in which the Rangers surprised everyone by going 14-8 and averting a sure 110-loss season. The 22 games in which the Rangers played .636 baseball after four miserable months of .375 baseball?

Most people would say, yes, it was a fluke. Even the worst teams have stretches when they play well, and the Rangers stretch just happened to come under Bogar’s watch.

It would seem the Rangers front office agreed, because it didn’t retain Bogar as the manager. Which means, it didn’t credit Bogar with that incredible turnaround. Otherwise, he’d still have that job. Because the turnaround was about as dramatic and emphatic as it gets.

My point to all this rambling is, after being swept at home by the Angels in embarrassing fashion, and really playing pretty uninspired baseball in the last three weeks except for three games in Baltimore, which Rangers team is the real Rangers team?

Was what we saw in May simply the Bogar effect? Was it, too, a fluke? Was it a bad team having a stretch where it plays well. Was Banister’s May Bogar’s September? Is what we saw in April and the last 17 games (in which the Rangers have gone 5-12) the real Rangers team?

Because I have to admit, May fooled me. It looked like this team was clicking. It looked like this team was going somewhere. Texas got to within a game-and-a-half from Houston.

Did reality set in?

Or is the run the Rangers have been on of late a case of a good team hitting a down period? A .294 winning percentage down period.

Which Rangers team is for real? April/late June-July? or May/early June?

This is why this might be the hardest trade deadline Jon Daniels has faced in a while.

What kind of team does he have? While the wild card is possible, how likely is it to win the wild card game and make the playoffs? And if they make the playoffs, how likely is it they go deep into October?

A wild card, is, of course, possible. But any team the Rangers would face would simply start a left handed pitcher—like, say, sign Joe Saunders to start for that one game—and it would be one and done for Texas, and no playoffs for the fourth straight year.

Of course, the cynic (and perhaps realist) says that Jon Daniels would just screw up a deadline deal anyway, so why bother going for it this year? But he did swing the Cliff Lee deal, without which 2010 would have never happened. So, his trade deadline track record is much better than his team’s record the last 17 games.

Yet, how many pieces does this team need to really be taken seriously in October? The rotation has been amazingly strong. Is that for real? Or is what we just saw against the Los Angeles Aneheims the real Rangers rotation?

Can the offense get to where it was those five or six weeks of May and early June? Or do they need far too many right handed impact bats?

Is there any way the Rangers can get the quantity of relief help to solidify this horrendous bullpen? Is there enough of that kind of help out there?

This team either has a few holes. Or it has more holes than a Swiss Cheese factory on a golf course in my underwear drawer. (That is a lot of holes.)

And the front office has three weeks to figure it out.

Which Rangers team is for real? April/late June-July? or May/early June?

Good luck.