This frustrating season was put to bed the same way it awoke. With a whimper.
The season that started with a sweep at the hands of the American League-best Cleveland Indians ended with the Rangers losing fourteen of its final twenty-one games.
Every time it looked like the Rangers were poised to right the ship in 2017, they hit an iceberg.
The Rangers spent just seventeen days above .500 in 2017. The longest they were above .500 consecutively was seven games. The most games they were above .500 was three. The last day they were above .500 was September 9.
From that point on, they went the aforementioned 7-14. When it mattered most, this team did the least.
A pattern seems to be emerging (a small sample size to be sure, but every trend has a beginning). Jeff Banister-led Rangers teams have gotten off to a slow start in two of his three seasons, going 7-14 in April of 2015 and 11-14 in April of 2017, and have fizzled at the end, losing five of nine at the end of 2015 to very nearly blow the lead they fought so hard to get, and losing eight of ten at the end of this season to take themselves out of a wild card chase that was winnable. Then, of course, there were the crushing defeats in the first round of both playoffs as well.
At least the season ended on a high note individually for a few players.
Adrian Beltre got a hit in his last at-bat of the season and possibly as a Ranger, ending twenty-fifth on the all-time hits list at 3,048. Next is Rod Carew’s 3,053. Perhaps lost in his chase for 3,000 hits is the remarkable fact that Beltre picked up 71 RBIs in just 94 games. That extrapolates to 122 RBI in a 162-game schedule. He wasn’t there all season, but he more than made up for it when he was in the lineup. Even so, the Rangers were just 44-50 in the games he played, through no fault of his.
Nomar Mazara needed his final at-bat of 2017 in order to pick up his one hundredth RBI. In fact, he got 100 and 101 on the same hit. Worth noting is that Mazara is just 22 years old, and won’t be 23 until a few weeks into next season.
Elvis Andrus also got a hit in his final 2017 at-bat, leaving to the standing ovation he deserved for being the Rangers best hitter. He had career highs in hits, doubles, home runs, RBIs, slugging percentage, and OPS. And career lows in We-Hate-Elvises from Rangers fans.
But this is a team sport, and this team sported a final record of 78-84, tied for third with the woeful Mariners, two games behind the woeful Angels and three games ahead of the woeful Athletics.
It was a season full of woe.