The culprit is the offense. It’s easy, and correct, to blame the bullpen. It started this mess in the first place. But the bullpen has been a trainwreck the entire season. It’s been out in the open with its putridness for all to see. The bullpen has been honest with everyone. “You use us, we will burn you.”
Turns out, the offense, on the other hand, was a big lie. The offense was a Tinder photo. A picture taken ten years, and forty pounds ago, in flattering lighting. But when it arrives at the restaurant, you realize you were fooled.
The Rangers long slide into embarrassment continued with a 6-3 loss to Oakland last night. Of course, with twenty-two games remaining, and the Rangers only three games out of first and a-game-and-a-half out of the playoffs, they are more than mathematically in it. But two more losses to Oakland, and they are done.
Last night was a grim reminder of what is responsible for The Great Collapse. The offense.
Three runners left on base in the first inning. Against Oakland.
Three runners left on base in the second inning. Against Oakland.
One in the third. Against Oakland.
Three more left on in the fourth. Against Oakland.
Even with all that futility, they were up 3-2. Because, Oakland.
And then, just like that. The offense stopped. Three batters an inning in the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth. They sent up four in the ninth, in the Rangers version of a mock rally.
All the while, Oakland piled on four more runs. Because, Texas.
This team left ten runners on base the first four innings. And had only one runner to leave on base the last five. It’s the offense that is killing this team.
Look at how these hitters have fallen off the face of the earth in the second half. It’s not just one or two. It’s a half-dozen Rangers hitters who have taken the second half of the season off.
When you get that bad of production from so many players that you relied on the first half, you get The Great Collapse.
You can’t expect the offense to score ten runs every game. And you can’t expect the offense to continue bailing out a bullpen that was dropping its meat in the dirt on a nightly basis.
But you should expect an offense to score more than three runs after putting on all those runners.