Reverse momentum. 402 comments


The 2015 official Texas Rangers team photo.


Winston Churchill coined the term “It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.”

Watching the 2015 Texas Rangers creates a lot of colorful language. Most of it unprintable here.

The Rangers are a team that goes up and down so rapidly, it is the envy of yo-yos everywhere.

A horrible month. An amazing month. A great two weeks, a comatose two weeks. An encouraging run, a I-will-never-follow-these-idiots-again-in-my-life run. They are on one of those runs now.

How does this team mow down a murder’s row of teams like Houston, the New York Yankees, the Los Angels Anaheims, and San Francisco, then turn right abound and fall flat on its face against Seattle and Minnesota?

Imagine if that walking-the-bases-loaded ploy in the bottom of the tenth at Seattle on Saturday hadn’t worked. It would be a depressing, winless road trip rather than just a pitiful 1-4 trip.

So, after last night’s buttwhipping, the Rangers have now lost three in a row and four out of five. After just having gone 9-4. And the momentum they had just one week ago is going the other way.

Now the Rangers are back to two games under .500, and 5.5 games behind Houston. Worse, they dropped another game in the Wild Card hunt to the Twins. The Rangers have four teams ahead of them for the second Wild Card slot, with Detroit and Cleveland poised to catch them from the rear today.

The trouble with all of this is, you cannot look at the standings simply as how many games the Rangers are behind the team in the lead. Because, when there are multiple teams ahead of them, they have to catch them one at a time. You cannot rely on everyone of those teams losing when you win, mainly because a lot of those teams end up playing one another, and both cannot lose. That makes making up ground exponentially harder.

So, the road ahead of the Rangers to win the West isn’t just to make up the 5.5 games they are out of first. You have to look at it this way: The distance they have to cover are the 3.5 games out of second plus the 5.5 games out of first. It’s like they realistically 9.0 games out.

And to win the Wild Card, they aren’t just 3.5 games behind the Angels. The amount of ground they have to make up are the 1.5 games behind the Twins plus the 1.5 games behind the Orioles plus the 2.5 games behind the Rays plus the 3.5 games behind the Angels. That’s also like they are 9.0 games out.

That is the degree of difficulty it will take to overcome all the teams ahead of them. It’s so much harder than catching just one team.

As Jeff Banister said after tonight’s game, “You simply cannot afford games like this, this late in the season.”

And, to quote a Winston Churchill observation about last night’s Rangers 11-1 debacle.

“I may be drunk tonight, but tomorrow I shall be sober. And you will still be ugly.”