As simple as 1-2-3.

The 2023 Texas Rangers.

Down 3-1 in the sixth, the Rangers loaded the bases on a single and two walks, wrapped around an out. A base hit would blow the game open. They couldn’t do it. They relied on bad Mets pitching to walk a runner in. Then the next two Rangers struck out.

Squandered opportunity number one.

Eighth inning. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with no outs. Adolis Garcia got hit by a pitch to tie the game. Then the Rangers had one of their two pivotal offensive moments of the game. Mitch Garver, who has been the Rangers most productive hitter in August, is up with bases loaded, no outs, a run in already, and the Mets bullpen on the ropes.

He hits into a 1-to-2-to-3 double play. Pitcher, to catcher, to first. No run scored. The only thing worse in that situation would have been to hit into a triple play. At least a conventional 6-to-4-to-3 double play scores a run. Thankfully, Jonah Heim singled in two. But that was the Rangers dagger inning. And they squandered it. The Rangers of the first two months of the season would have scored five runs easily.

The Rangers were up 5-3. But the Mets still had at least two cracks at the Rangers bullpen. They got those two runs back with the first three hitters. The Rangers blown save off the season number thirty. Thirty.

Top of the tenth, bases loaded, no outs. Then one out. Then, shockingly, another 1-2-3 double play. You see one of those a month. The Rangers hit into two in the same night.

Another squandered opportunity. No runs scored. With the Mets having another crack at the Rangers bullpen. And, once again, the Rangers bullpen cracked.

It’s easy to lay the blame for the Rangers pitiful recent run on the bullpen, and it would be justified. But the offense’s inability to take advantage of the situation is why this team is in a free fall.

In the first half of the season, the offense made up for the bullpen. It’s been horrible from Game One. But the Rangers would hop out to 11-3 leads. The bullpen would give up four, and nobody paid attention. Until the offense stopped.

The Rangers are now in third, just two-and-one-half games up on Toronto for the final wild card spot. They are in the middle of the Great Collapse.

It’s as simple as 1-2-3. Until the offense comes back, this team will continue to fall. They don’t have the bullpen to compete. Right now, they are barely hanging on to the last thin branch of contention.