In 1948, Boston Post sports writer Gerald Hern, while covering the Boston Braves, was lamenting that they had only two starting pitchers that they could count on, Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain.
He wrote a poem about it:
“First we’ll use Spahn, then we’ll use Sain, then an off day, followed by rain. Then will come Spahn, then will come Sain, followed, we hope, by two days of rain.”
(Back then they used only four starters. How quaint.)
Over the years, that became to be known as “Spahn and Sain and pray for rain.” It was the battle cry for a team that had only two pitchers worth starting, and a whole lot of finger crossing after that.
Had Gerald Hern been a writer for the 2016 Texas Rangers, he might have penned. “Yu then Cole then save our soul.”
Because these Texas Rangers not only have only two reliable starters, they have only two reliable pitchers. Period. That bullpen is like Door Number Two in Let’s Make A Deal. Behind it could be a shiny new car. Or a big ball of tin foil.
Last night, after a two hour and forty minute rain delay, one of the Rangers two good pitchers, Yu Darvish, took the mound.
And something totally unprecedented happened. The Rangers score runs for him. Lots of runs. Eight, to be exact.
Last night’s game will be the blueprint for how the Rangers are going to have to win from here on out.
Score a lot of runs, get enough starting pitching, pray you have enough runs to counteract the philanthropic bullpen.
Last night behind Door Number Two was Tony Barnette. He is usually a shiny new car. Yesterday he was a big ball of foil.
Luckily the Rangers had scored enough.
Yu then Cole—
Cole goes tonight. Chances are he won’t pitch a complete game and Jeff Banister will have to go to his bullpen.
—then save our soul.
(By the way, that 1948 Boston Braves team went to the World Series.)