The official paperwork arrived last night around 9:35, when the Minnesota Twins defeated the Cleveland Indians.
But that was a mere formality.
With all the piss-and-vinegar bluster and misguided bravado from the manager about men stepping up and doing what men have to do in this wild card chase, about finding what this team’s character is made of, about this team knowing how to get it done, the reality is, we all found out once and for all.
When it mattered most, this team has now lost five straight games. In one neat, tight definitive statement, here is what this team is: a team of not quite.
When it mattered most, in fact, was back in May after this team put up an remarkable ten-game winning streak against the dregs of baseball at the time, the Phillies, the Padres and the Athletics. What mattered was how they played after that. They promptly lost 13 of their next 17.
And that is your 2017 Texas Rangers.
An under-.500, poorly-constructed, never-able-to-gel, directionless, rudderless fourth-place team.
But our under-.500, poorly-constructed, never-able-to-gel, directionless, rudderless fourth-place team.
Justin Verlander (14-8, 3.38) vs. Nick Martinez (3-7, 5.72)
Game time: 1:05