BY: Richard W. Humphrey
On Sunday afternoon, the Rangers put up a five spot in the first inning on the strength of a three run home run from Adrian Beltre’s bat followed by a two run blast from Joey Gallo. That was all the offense on the day though, and Minnesota rallied back for six runs and a win to split the four game series.
For Texas, it added up to another losing week at 3-4 as they have not won any of the last four series. Texas lost on Tuesday at home to Seattle and Sunday in Minnesota, two starts that would have been taken by Yu Darvish had he not been traded last Monday. It especially hurts after seeing Darvish fire a master piece at the Mets in his first start for the Dodgers – seven shutout innings, three hits, one walk and 10 strikeouts.
The Rangers thus woke up Monday morning in fourth place in the American League West trailing Houston by 18 games. They are now 4.5 games (five in the loss column) in back of Kansas City for the second Wild Card playoff spot.
The offense looked like its usual self in Minnesota. Too many strikeouts – 34 in the four game series. Runs scoring mostly on home runs, as the Rangers hit five in the series driving in 11 of the 17 runs scored (65%).
With Darvish gone and the offense that has become “all or nothing”, you get the feeling that the air has been let out of the balloon. There are 10 teams that are within six games of the Wild Card. Only two get the chance to play into the eight team A. L. Tournament to go to the World Series. The Rangers are in the back of that pack, ahead of just Toronto and Detroit. The problem isn’t so much making up 4.5 games as it is passing so many teams.
And the bottom line is that the Rangers haven’t shown the ablitily to play at a high level for the remaining eight weeks of the season.
This week, the Rangers get two off days – Monday and Thursday. They play two games against the Mets to complete the current road trip on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then return home for three games this weekend against the Astros. The Rangers will honor Ivan Rodriguez on his enshrinement in the Hall of Fame in a ceremony prior to Saturday’s game.
* Willie Calhoun, the most highly regarded prospect received by the Rangers in the Yu Darvish trade, hit four home runs in the first four games he played at AAA Round Rock.