You don’t straddle .500 for an entire season without having deficiencies. Often many.
While the offense was an early-season problem, it hasn’t been of late. Prior to yesterday, the Rangers had scored double-digits in three of the seven September games, and no fewer than four runs in any game this month. That’s why they were 5-2.
The offense has been clicking, so you can’t get too rattled over being one-hit, especially by one of the better pitchers in the American League. Those things happen.
The sole reason this team is on the outside of the candy shop looking in is because of its bullpen. Even when it was going well—and, despite its reputation, the Rangers’ bullpen did have a nice run of six weeks without blowing a save—the bullpen was always tenuous at best. Put your hand over your eyes and try not to look.
It was basically a three-man bullpen of Alex Claudio, Matt Bush and Keone Kela, but that was getting it done. When Bush and Kela went down, so did the win probabilities in bullpen-dependent games, like yesterday’s. All three Yankees runs were scored off Ranger relief pitching, even though the first was charged to hard luck starter Andrew Cashner.
So now it’s down to a one-man pen. It’s Alex Claudio or bust. The September call ups aren’t going to offer any relief. If they could be counted on to get out major league hitters, they would have already been up in the major leagues. They are really just meat for the sausage grinder.
And since post-seasons are really just battles of the bullpens anymore, that tells you the Rangers’ chances of a deep October in the unlikely event they would somehow make it in.
It’s about as likely as Rougned Odor winning the MVP.
Jordan Montgomery (7-7, 4.14) vs. A.J. Griffin (6-5, 5.09)
Game time: 2:05