Pressure points.

Like Hamilton’s ribs,
Offense is fractured right now
Needs an injection

Read the next three quotes from after last night’s game, and then I have two points to make.

David Murphy: “You could draw conclusions that we’re pressing or we’re putting too much pressure on ourselves.  I think it’s just very bad timing.”

Nelson Cruz: “We’re trying too hard.  We have to let things happen.  We’re trying to make things happen.”

Elvis Andrus (who has just two hits in his last 28 at-bats – and they’re both infield singles): “For me, I think I’m too aggressive. . . . Sometimes you try to force things when you don’t need to.”

OK, a couple things.

Number one.

When the 2010 schedule came out last September, I was encouraged:

But the thing I always look for first is where the Rangers open, and where they close, and for the first time since 1996, Texas will be in Arlington in both cases.  The Blue Jays and Mariners visit for the first six games of the season (April 5-11), and the Mariners (three) and Angels (four) are here for the regular season’s final seven games (September 27-October 3).  I like that.

I didn’t think about it then, but another fortunate thing about this schedule is that Texas is done with Oakland a week and a half before the first game of the playoffs.  The same will be true in 2011, when the Rangers get Seattle home for three before finishing in Anaheim for three.

Now, there will be years when you want to tee it up with your primary competition to finish out 162, to make sure that you control your destiny (especially if you’re the hunter, not the hunted).  And that may work out perfectly next year, with those three against the Angels.

But as long as Dallas Braden, Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, and Gio Gonzalez aren’t past their arbitration years, and maybe Tyson Ross too, I’d just as well not see the A’s in the last week of the regular season, as we’re trying to secure a playoff spot – or trying to build a little offensive momentum going into the post-season.

Point number two.

With all that stuff about Rangers hitters trying too hard to make things happen, about putting too much pressure on themselves, which of course reflects about a week of offensive offense, not just one game against the A’s, how confident are we that this playoff-untested lineup will be able to heed their own self-help messages when everything’s on the line – and the pressure reaches new levels – against New York or Tampa Bay?


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(c) Jamey Newberg
Twitter  @newbergreport

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