Rangers baseball is fun again.
Rangers fans can watch a game and not turn it off once the other team gets a lead, knowing the Rangers offense was done for the day after the fifth inning. Rangers fans can watch a game and not turn it off after the third inning with the team already down by six runs. They finally have pitching. (This is, of course, assuming Rangers fans can actually watch a Rangers game.)
This feels like those two great periods in Rangers history. That three-year run in 2010, 2011, and 2012, and that two-year run of 2015 and 2016.
Remember when Rangers fans were promised a team that would contend year after year? That promise was written in the sand at high tide and swept away almost as quickly as it was made. What we got, instead, was the bleakest stretch of baseball in franchise history.
But the fun is back. The winning is back. This Rangers team has a real chance to make the playoffs. And, assuming the rotation holds (yes, a big assumption), a real chance to go deep into the playoffs.
Yesterday, this team showed what it can and should do to lesser opponents. The Rangers scored early, they scored late, and they basically made the Rockies the Rangers of the past six year.
Of course, there’s the one huge sore spot. The bullpen. This team cannot go deep into the playoffs if they are going to continue coughing up three and four runs in the last two innings. But they have time to right that ship. And they have someone at the helm who in qualified to do so. The price of relief help won’t come cheaply, though. Every team that is contending will want to bolster their bullpens. This bullpen collapse isn’t just a Rangers thing. It’s happening all over baseball.
Optimism is back, though. This is a team that you expect will win every time it takes the field. Just two years ago, it lost 102 games. The lineup is stacked. Every day it’s another player contributing. Yes, there will be slumps and losing streaks. That happens to the best teams. But the good ones have shorter slumps and shorter losing streaks.
And, let’s hope, year long stretches of greatness.