Yesterday’s game was a microcosm of the entire Rangers season.
The starting pitching wasn’t quite good enough, far too many walks, too inefficient with the pitch count, removed early.
The bullpen is overtaxed and underwhelming and, ultimately, gave up the win. Every inning this bullpen throws is skirting disaster. Expecting it to get through four is asking too much.
Too many batters striking out, twelve more, in critical situations.
Fundamentally flawed baseball.
Every time the Rangers win a game like they did on Saturday, where they scored a lot of runs, got great starting pitching and enjoyed an airtight bullpen, it gives fans cause for hope. But it’s misguided.
Other than the ten-game winning streak that was nothing more than a fluke against the worst teams in baseball, this team has not been able to get any momentum going. It can’t get any traction or make any sort of headway.
That’s because it has far too many flaws. Both physical and mental.
Maybe playing smart fundamental baseball could overcome some of those weaknesses, but all the Rangers do is compound their problems with bad decision-making.
After Rougned Odor led off the ninth with a single, down by one run, why on earth did this team not bunt him to second? Ron Washington would have done the right thing there. But, going back to the second game of the season, when a similar situation cropped up, the Rangers choose to bury their heads in the sand on fundamentals. In that game, down 4-2 to Cleveland in the bottom of the ninth, Nomar Mazara led off with a double, followed by a double from Mike Napoli. Suddenly it was 4-3 with the tying run at second, no outs. Rather than doing what the game called for, which was bunting the runner to third, Banister chose to go with dumb guy baseball. Odor, Profar, and Gallo struck out. The runner was stranded on second. The Rangers lost.
Cut to three months later and he still hasn’t learned. Odor got on base to lead off the ninth and wasn’t moved over. So, two outs later when Andrus doubled, he wasn’t able to tie the game. An intentional walk of Beltre loaded the bases. But a strikeout ended it.
And just like that, winning-baseball strategy revealed exactly why it is winning-baseball strategy. And why ignoring it is costly.
The White Sox committed four errors and played some really bad baseball. And won.
Rick Porcello (4-10, 5.06) vs. Martin Perez (4-6, 4.60)
Game time: 7:05