Falling short.

The celebration never happened.

The Rangers fell one game short.

Corey Seager fell one hit short.

Adolis Garcia, Marcus Semien, and Mitch Garver fell home run short.

The Ranger went into Seattle needing to win two games. They won one.

Corey Seager needed at least one hit to win the batting title. He went 0-4.

The Rangers needed one run to tie. Adolis Garcia needed one home run to get to 40. Marcus Semien needed one home run to get to 30. Mitch Garver needed one home run to get to 20.

Instead, it was a disappointing end to one of the weirdest Rangers seasons ever. They led baseball in almost every offensive category. Yet were shutout twice when it really mattered in Seattle, and eleven times overall in 2023. Only Oakland was shut out more in the AL West—sixteen times. Houston, six. Los Angeles, seven. Seattle, eight.

They led baseball in almost every offensive category. Yet had a baffling inability to score runs from the seventh inning on, or to come from behind if down from the seventh inning on. Winning only one game when trailing in the ninth, and winning just two when trailing in the seventh.

All that offense undone by a historically inept bullpen that blew thirty-four saves. It’s hard to imagine how this team even had a chance to win the division with a bullpen this bad, let alone make the playoffs.

Now they fly across the country, about as far as they can go, to Tampa Bay to play the Rays in a best-of-three wild card round, with all three games being played there.

They were 4-2 against the Rays this season, but 1-2 in Tampa Bay. 

When it came down to it, the Rangers failed to do what they had to do, and the Astros did exactly what they needed to do. And Houston wins the West again.

After six years of wandering in the baseball wilderness, the Rangers are back in the playoffs. It should be cause for elation but somehow it all seems so disappointing.

The champagne stayed on ice.