Life can be cruel sometimes.
The Rangers had one of their best games of the season, an unlikely win over an Astros team they simply cannot beat in Houston, in a game started by future Hall of Famer and Cy Young favorite Justin Verlander, in a game in which their bullpen blew a lead once again, and the power was out here so I could not watch it.
I’ve been able to watch all the other frustrating games that have led to this team being twelve games under .500, all the other games where they have been outmanned, out scored, out managed, and out-everythinged.
But last night’s game belonged to Leody Taveras, whose triple off Justin Verlander led to two runs in the fourth, giving the Rangers a rare lead in Houston. He came into the game in an 0-for17 slump after spending much of his season hitting over .300. For the most part this year, he had been the Taveras Rangers fan had been waiting for instead of the Taveras who seemed woefully unprepared for major league pitching.
His first attempt at it was in the Rangers pitiful 2020 season when they had nothing to lose, Taveras was twenty-one, and one of the few bona fide prospects the Rangers had.
He struggled like most twenty-one-year-olds would, hitting .227. By Rangers way of thinking, that got him promoted to lead off hitter the next year. A job he was totally unqualified and unready for. Naturally, he failed. He hit .161 in 2021, with an on-base percentage of just .207.
It was the kind of foolish decision that could have ruined a young player. But he seemed to overcome Rangers mismanagement and put it together in Triple-A this year.
He came back up in mid-June and this time started hitting. And hitting. By the end of July, Taveras was up to .325.
Last night, he snapped out of a slump, going 2-for-4 with five RBIs, including the dagger that capped a five-run tenth. He tripled home the first run in the fourth, hit a sac fly in the sixth, and doubled home three in the tenth.
Taveras suffered through some growing pains his first two tries at major league baseball. This third time, he seems to be figuring it out.
This would be huge for the Rangers. They’ve had so few prospects pan out. They’re due. Let’s hope Taveras is their centerfielder for years to come.
Life has been cruel to the Texas Rangers. They could use a break or two.