I got home from the Ballpark last night, and there was this tweet sequence from USA Today’s Bob Nightengale:
Just in case there was a tiny faction of doubt, the Texas Rangers are the greatest team in baseball.
There is no close second. The Rangers are that good.
It’s basically a rewording of what just about every national baseball writer has thrown out there in the last week or so, but each added proclamation is as sweet as an extra game padded onto that specific Games Back number in the final column – and these days, the final row – of the AL West standings.
There were only two days in the entire 2011 season on which the Angels were as many as 8.5 games behind Texas in the division – the season’s final two days, obviously well after Los Angeles had been eliminated from playing for anything.
While the Rangers have won all six of their series to start the season (a franchise record), the Angels have lost five of their six.
I’m only pointing out the facts as far as the Angels are concerned, here and even when my seat is pulled up at the Twitter Sports Bar as the ballgames feeding those Games Back numbers are being played. (When @MatthewLadd points out that Robbie Ross is only two wins shy of catching the Angels, sir, that’s merely passing along facts.) I don’t have any interest in piling on, or in angering the baseball gods or the karma police.
But feel free to Google something like:
Torii “showing no signs” “going through the motions right now” “That’s everybody, not just players” “hitless streak” “elephant in the room”
You’ll find something interesting.
Some have suggested that time spent keeping tabs on the Angels dangerously ignores what’s going on with Oakland and Seattle. OK. I’ll believe in the 2012 A’s and 2012 Mariners in June. Even the fascinating Baseball Prospectus Playoff Odds Report suggests the Angels are still a 69.2 percent bet to land a playoff berth in these days of dual Wild Cards, with Oakland checking in at 1.1 percent, and Seattle at 0.6 percent.
Texas: 93.2 percent. The highest mark of any team in baseball, ahead of the 87.9 percent Yankees, who took Game One of their three-game set in Arlington this week and still lost the series, at the hands of Yu Darvish on Tuesday and then a rollout of relievers on Wednesday.
(ESPN’s Cool Standings simulation metrics are even more staggering: Texas at 97.0 percent and Los Angeles at 25.7 percent, with the next-best positions held by the Cardinals at 73.3 percent and Yankees at 68.8 percent.)
(And Clay Davenport’s Post-Season Odds: Texas at 98.9 percent and Los Angeles at 20.6 percent, with Detroit at 81.2 percent and Yankees at 76.7 percent.)
On Darvish: Much has been made of the plain trend in his four starts, that he’s getting better every time he takes the ball. What makes that more interesting is the sequence of opponents: Seattle, Minnesota (away), Detroit (away), New York.
The level of competition sure isn’t a basis for Darvish trending up.
And on the subject of trending up, I saved this weekend tweet from Jason Parks, because it’s awesome:
Just received a text from a scout that said, “It’s scary to think that the Rangers are going to get even better.”
But this will do for now.
Do you realize how few signature moments there have been in 15-4? This team is beating other teams systematically and soundly, without having to resort to the type of dramatics that end up leading off Quick Pitch or SportsCenter.
That will do, too.
The only thing disturbing what is, right now, the most rewarding stretch of early-season baseball I can ever remember experiencing is the damn blank spot on the schedule for April 26, leaving me to pass the time tonight with the start of the NFL Draft, when every team (even Dallas) will proclaim that they just got a whole lot better, as the Texas Rangers kick back themselves, awaiting the arrival of the Rays, who have already won their series with the Angels even though this afternoon’s series finale is yet to be played.
That’s a fact.