It seems Bubba Thompson had something to prove. Nine games into the season he finally got his first start. In a getaway Sunday game in Wrigley in a game the Rangers really needed to win to avoid a sweep, and to avoid going under .500.
Dipping under .500 at this juncture in the season is not fatal. In fact, it’s barely a flesh wound. More mental than anything else. Once you dip under .500, every game becomes a bit bigger as you try to claw your way back. Luckily, the Rangers didn’t have to.
But their first three series are in the books and they’ve lost two of three. That’s not a recipe for making the playoffs.
It’s much much too early, however, to start reading tea leaves or interpreting patterns. Early season stats are as solid as sand castles in high tide. Give it a month to six weeks, then patterns start taking on meaning. As of right now, though, the Rangers are sixth in baseball in pitching and twentieth in hitting.
Maybe it’s because the Rangers offense has been so underwhelming that Rangers manager Bruce Bochy decided to give Bubba Thompson his first start. It could fit under the “What do we have to lose?” category. But Thompson sparked the Rangers offense with a double, a triple, two runs scored, two runs batted in. His blazing speed is a huge asset. But he falls into that well worn cliche that you can’t steal first base. His problem is getting on. Yesterday, he didn’t have that problem. And the Rangers responded around him.
Thompson has the speed to be a real disrupter. With the bases bigger and stolen base attempts up dramatically, he could be a real force on the base paths if he can just get on.
You have to think he will get more chances to try. Being the spark plug for an offense whose engine has more pings than a golf bag should lead Bochy to give him more shots at it.