After the game, the Rangers announcers were celebrating the fact that the Rangers won a one-run game. Their dismal record in one-run games has been talked about a lot. In fact, it might even be one of the main culprits that finally caused Chris Woodward to lose his job.
They were making it seem that the Rangers had finally gotten this winning thing figured out. All is good now.
This whole one-run game thing was silly from the beginning. The fact that the Rangers were losing so many one-run games really was more fluke than anything else. The only that that really mattered was the fact that they were losing games, period.
Yes, last night they won a one-run game. But that’s only because Jose Leclerc made it that. It should have been a three-run game. It should have ended 7-4. (And in the weirdness of baseball, he actually earned a save.)
Did the game take on any more significance being 7-6 rather than 7-4. Did the Rangers play tauter, smarter baseball that led them to win by one run? No, they almost blew a game they should have won.
All this one-run game talk suggests that, in a loss, a manager wasn’t good enough to get over a hump and, in a win, a manager was crafty enough to squeak out a victory.
As last night’s game, and so many other one-run games, wins or losses, showed, there are a ton of factors in play. None of which really matter or can be quantified. It’s not like you can say, if we can just push this button, we can get one more run and if we can just push that button we can give up one less run.
What it means is, the team lost a lot of game. Many of those happened to be by one run. Who cares how close they were? What all those losses tell you is the team needs to get better all over. When the Rangers won in 2010 and 2011, was it because they mastered the one-run victory? No, it was because they had the better team. (The Rangers were 19-24 in one-run games in 2011, which pretty much tells you the one-run game record is meaningless.)
The Rangers didn’t lose all those one-run games because Chris Woodward wasn’t good enough to figure out how to get that one more run. No, they lost them because they weren’t good enough to win them.
Getting obsessed by one-run losses might lead a front office to think they are really close to turning it around, which might lead it to just make a small change here or there. “Oh, if we just add one bat we could make up for those close losses.”
Ignore the score and look at the L column. This team has a long way to go.
It’s not just one run away from being competive.