Texas lost seven of nine games as they were limping to the All-Star break. But they beat the Twins on the road for their fifty-fourth win of the season.
Originally published July 9, 2016.
There is this notion going around on local media that the Rangers are gassed and desperately need the All-Star Break to get some much needed rest and rejuvenation, and that is why they have hit a wall lately and are only 3-7 in their last ten games.
The only thing tired is that excuse.
Yes, they have played an incredible stretch of games without a whole lot of time off. Twenty in a row, and now they are in their fifteenth in a row.
But that is not a valid excuse. It’s not like they were singled out by the Schedule Makers in New York and sentenced to some intolerable schedule as some perverse punishment.
They have played just one more game than every other team in their division, many of those teams have winning records the last ten games.
Yes, I know the argument is, and the excuse being made for the Rangers, is they have had to play too many games in a short amount of time with fewer days off. Other teams may have only one or two more off days than the Rangers in that span. Are you telling me one game off makes the difference between being too fatigued to play baseball and playing winning baseball?
Isn’t that why Jeff Banister has been so insistent on giving players off days to get them off their feet and give them a breather?
Don’t confuse the normal slump that is part of the cycle of a baseball season with being tired.
Jurickson Profar and Nomar Mazara have cooled off considerably. Are they desperately needing the All-Star break because they are scuffling. Profar isn’t even a full-time player. Aren’t all those games he sits out while the core infield plays his break? And maybe, just maybe, the reason he isn’t still hitting .385 like he was after his first two dozen games is this: he’s not a .385 hitter, tired or rested.
Maybe what Mazara is experiencing is just the normal ups and downs of a rookie in his learning curve.
Look at Rougned Odor. He has ten hits in his last five games. Imagine once he gets that badly needed break; he will come back strong and really start hitting.
Prince Fielder is, for the first time this season, starting to hit, having batted .275 in June. How tired is he?
Ian Desmond isn’t showing signs of being tired, neither is Elvis Andrus.
If the bats were tired and so desperately in need of a break, it would stand to reason that a lack of offense is what has caused the Rangers to lose seven of its last ten, right? In the seven games the Rangers lost, they scored, in order of losses: 7, 1, 5, 4, 5, 6, and 1 runs.
Only twice did this offense score less than four runs. That was more than enough offense to have won five of those seven losses. Add the three they did win in that span of ten, and the Rangers could and should be 8-2 instead of 3-7 in their last ten.
The bats aren’t tired.
Oh, so then it’s the bullpen, right?
The bullpen has actually been just as cover-your-eyes hit-and-miss as it has been all season, when the Rangers where 51-27 before their last ten. The arms giving up the runs were just as unreliable as when they were fresh out of the box. Only one loss of the seven was the bullpen’s fault, and that was the first of the ten game stretch when Sam Dyson imploded. After that, all the losses are solely pinned on the rotation (and a passed ball).
But why would the rotation be in desperate need of the All-Star Break? Who has been pitching on less rest than they normally get?
Are Cole Hamels’s bad last two outings the result of fatigue and desperately needing the All-Star Break? Or just a two-game blip that starting pitchers routinely go through because it’s baseball? If he is desperately in need of a break, he will certainly get it while pitching for the American League in the All-Star Game.
No, tired players is not a valid excuse.
Here is what is tired: the same bunch of not-ready-for-primetime pitchers the Rangers keep running out on the mound because they don’t have the horses in the minor league stable to compete.
And tonight’s bullpen killer de jur? Kyle Lohse. Instead of pitching again at Round Rock, he is throwing tonight in Arlington. On his normal rest. That same normal rest that has generated a 5.06 ERA in Triple-A.
Who’s tired? The fans are, of seeing guys like Chi Chi Gonzalez and Nick Martinez, and Kyle Lohse, in Texas Rangers uniforms.