September 2013

The promise of dashed expectations.

Yu Darvish vs. Matt Moore.

Darvish, whose team has been so offensively unsupportive lately, against Moore, who had thrown 5.1 scoreless innings and another 10 innings of one-run ball against Texas in his brief career and who boasted a 1.64 ERA in his eight starts since July 1st, and whose own Rays teammates haven’t been scoring lots of runs themselves of late.

You probably expected last night to go something like the way Darvish-Gerrit Cole (1-0 loss) and Darvish-Bartolo Colon (1-0 loss) went the last two times the Rangers ace took the mound.

And then a combined 183 pitches were thrown in the first four innings.

The game saw 35 batters, nearly two per half-inning, reach base against the right-handed and left-handed beasts and six relievers.

Even if you somehow expected the beleaguered Texas and Tampa Bay offenses to regularly put Darvish and Moore in pressure situations, the thought of the Rangers hitting three (and nearly four) home runs in the span of four batters probably didn’t figure into your thinking.

You probably didn’t expect the number nine hitter (Mitch Moreland), who was the one left-handed hitter in the lineup against Moore, to go off all night, laying off pitches outside the zone and barreling up on the ones he could do something with, or the fourth outfielder mired in a 1-for-18 stupor (Craig Gentry) to thrown down a triple, three singles, and three stolen bases, or the backup catcher (Geovany Soto) to go deep and, more importantly, to cut down two would-be basestealers with Darvish on the ropes in the second inning.

Or the demoted southpaw reliever (Robbie Ross), sporting a 6.08 ERA (not counting the 8 of 20 inherited runners he allowed to score) and .330/.380/.510 opponents’ slash over the last three months, to come in and shove like 2012 Robbie Ross with two innings of perfect baseball, starting with three straight swinging strikeouts in the sixth.

Darvish, grinding and battling and surviving without fastball command and without his best stuff and posting just the 26th highest Game Score of his 30 starts this season, got all of nine swinging strikes in five frames.

Ross got five swinging strikes in his first inning of work.

Getting that Robbie Ross back would mean not only another weapon to trust in the pen, but also a chance to ease the load, even if slightly, on the critically important Neal Cotts as Texas heads into these last 10 critically important games.

It was adrenalizing to see Texas take it to the other guys on the bases, reminiscent of August as well as of the 2010 American League Division Series that saw the Rangers win three times at Tropicana Field to advance in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

I don’t know if Texas will be able to hold on these next 10 days to advance to 162+ again, or if it might mean another trip to the Trop for Game 163, but there were all kinds of good signs last night giving us a glimpse of what this team can be, again, as it tries to extend its season and build some momentum in the process.

Even if those good signs last night didn’t include the one thing we all expected to see.

Flips.

The Rangers started the season with a 15-7 record.  (They were actually 16-7, but work with me here.)

Since August 21, Texas is 7-15.  (The club is 6-15 since the day after that, but, you know, symmetry.)

Flip those two 22-game stretches.  Imagine that the Rangers started 2013 with a 7-15 record – where the Astros were after 22 games – and were on a 15-7 tear going into tonight.  How fired up would we be that Texas is 81-68 and in control of a Wild Card spot?

New day today.  81-68, Wild Card.  Thirteen games to go.

Start with that, and forget when the good stretches were, and the bad ones.

Right now, this is a playoff team.

Start with that.

(That’s all I got this morning.)

Of ex-Rays, gutting it out, and castle-storming.

cas·tle doc·trine

ˈkas-əl ˈdäk-trin

noun

American legal doctrine that designates a person’s abode as a place in which that person has certain protections and immunities permitting him or her, in certain circumstances, to use force (up to and including deadly force) to defend against an intruder — free from legal responsibility/prosecution for the consequences of the force used.

antonym: Whatever the word is for going an entire six-game homestand without having a lead in any one game at any one point . . . a stretch over which the club fails to hit a home run, the longest such streak at home since before Rangers Ballpark opened and in fact since before Nolan Ryan joined the Rangers as a player . . . losing two straight home series of at least three games each for the first time since 1973, a 105-loss season in which Texas was managed by Whitey Herzog, Del Wilber, and Billy Martin.

Cleveland beat the White Sox yesterday for the 12th straight time, pulling to within a half-game of Texas and Tampa Bay, who at the moment hold down the two American League Wild Card spots, with the Rangers owning home field for now given their 2-1 edge over the Rays in head-to-head competition going into the four-game series that starts tonight at Tropicana Field.

Reach back for happier times and you might recall that, in 2010, in the Rangers’ first playoff series in a baseball generation, Texas and Tampa Bay went the distance in their best-of-five ALDS — and the road team won every single game.  In 2011, when the two clubs met again in the ALDS, the road team won three out of four.

Fast-forward to the present and you might feel that heading back out on the road might be the best thing for the Rangers, regardless of any history with the Rays.

Cleveland visits Kansas City for three starting tonight, and with both of those clubs chasing Texas and Tampa Bay there’s this interesting note, courtesy of ESPN’s Buster Olney:

In that Indians-Royals game, the starting pitchers are slated to be ex-Ray Scott Kazmir and ex-Ray James Shields.

In tonight’s Rangers-Rays game, the starters will be ex-Ray Matt Garza and current Ray Alex Cobb.

Fourteen games left.  Texas visits Tampa Bay for four and Kansas City for three before returning home for three against Houston and a season-ending four against the Angels.

Tampa Bay hosts Baltimore for four once Texas leaves town, and then travels to New York for three and Toronto for three.

After Cleveland finishes in Kansas City, it’s home for four against Houston and two against the White Sox before heading to Minnesota for four to finish its regular season.  That’s sort of scary.

I suppose you can’t ignore the Orioles and Yankees and their own chase for a Game 163, but I choose not to because if the Rangers let one of those teams back in, it will mean this tailspin will have continued and that’s something I’m not willing to get my head wrapped around.  If instead it’s the Rays and Indians who let Baltimore or New York overtake them and the Rangers are faced as a result with a win-or-go-home game against one of those AL East clubs, fine.  Absolutely fine.

Look, I’m as numb as anyone right now.  I can’t understand what has happened to this team, which has immediately followed a historically great 22-6 run of baseball with a stunning 3-12 nosedive.

But there are two weeks of games left on the schedule, and Texas is a playoff team at the moment.  “The Newsroom’s” season ended last night.  The Rangers’ season didn’t.

Looking at my email and Twitter timeline, it’s evident that there are some of you who are done with the 2013 Rangers.  Giving up.

Seriously?

Think back to that dominant 22-6 run that immediately preceded this deflating 3-12.

Nothing’s over.  Gut this thing out.  If 162+ happens, chances are it will be because this team again started playing baseball worth watching, when it matters most.

Jon Daniels: “We’re either going to get it done or not.  But I’ll always bet on our guys.”

Maybe this works out, maybe it doesn’t.  Maybe you don’t choose to bet on our guys, maybe you do.  But we’re staring at the final two out of 26 weeks, with no breaks in the action, and with nothing but urgent baseball, and some of you are walking away?  Look at all but three of the 38 seasons from 1972 through 2009 for a quick little reminder of where this franchise used to always be at this point.  Look at 2010 and 2011, and even 2012, and appreciate where this franchise is.  There will be a day — probably a lot of years from now, but it will happen — when with two weeks left on the schedule the baseball season really will be over.  That day is not today.

It’s time to storm someone else’s castle.  For those of you who have turned in your ball card for the season, the rest of us will let you know how it turns out.

Windows.

This is one of those thought bubbles that I tend to turn into 3000 words (that is, 2500 too many) (and have no fear, I have one of those teed up in my head for one of the next few mornings), but I’m going to keep this short and move on from it, mentally as much as anything.

For a handful of reasons, it’s getting more difficult to go outside your own organization and make major-impact additions. The free agent market looks to be thin this winter, again, and more and more teams are coming into big TV money, wanting to spend. That (along with pseudo-caps in Latin America) should increase competition in the international market, and make farm system depth and strength more important than ever.

That last part bodes well for Texas, but maybe not for a couple years in terms of impact prospects helping in Arlington.

But some of that strength can help immediately, as we saw with C.J. Edwards two months ago.

The part about all of this that invaded my head this morning — for the first time — and I’d like to think potentially the last — is that I suppose there’s a way of looking at things that suggests there’s a window in Arlington that, while it’s not closing, is extraordinarily wide open right now and could conceivably be less open in a few years.

Look at the trades Detroit has made the last few years (Curtis Granderson [nearing free agency] and Edwin Jackson for Max Scherzer and Austin Jackson and more; Jacob Turner and more for Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante; loading up for free agents Victor Martinez and Prince Fielder and Torii Hunter), and you might conclude that Tigers ownership and baseball operations collectively decided to load up during the Miguel Cabrera era, to pack as much into that envisioned window as possible. Because he’s Miguel Cabrera in his prime and that’s the sensible thing to do.

Yu Darvish is the best pitcher-in-his-prime that the Rangers have ever reached a long-term commitment with. There’s no future Darvish on the farm — which is no denigration considering you can’t point to a franchise that can objectively boast having a future Darvish in development right now — and, in this altered baseball landscape, a diminishing confidence that you are the organization most likely to land the next one. That’s just the reality. Texas is still elite in that scouting respect, but its company — out of baseball-economic necessity — is increasing.

Darvish is here in 2014 and 2015 and 2016 and, unless he has multiple top-four finishes in the AL Cy Young between now and 2016 (that is, a first and another top-four, or a second and two other top-fours), 2017.

Do the Rangers need to exploit the Darvish window — and here’s the part that shook me a little this morning — not only to take advantage of his guaranteed time in Texas but also to maximize their chances of getting him to extend his commitment here?

There may be a dozen high-end, potential impact prospects on the Rangers farm. The likelihood of any of them making an impact by 2016 is slim.

That is, it’s unlikely any of them will make a real, outlook-altering impact in Texas by 2016.

But for Texas?

Let’s backburner that for another time.

Beat Oakland today. Forget the West. Just win games. Starting now.

Beat Oakland today.

Steppin’ up.

When Nelson Cruz wakes up this morning in Surprise, a 33-year-old getting ready to hit in a group of teenagers that might include Rougned Odor, Joey Gallo, Travis Demeritte, and Juremi Profar, taking live BP against Chi-Chi Gonzalez or Alec Asher or Marcos Diplan, a thousand miles west of his nuclear baseball family while surrounded by 77 Texas Rangers ballplayers a generation younger, he’ll probably have the same first thought of the day he’s had every day for a while now, wondering if his Rangers career is over, or if there will be another chance, whether in October or in 2014, wondering — like me and you — who is going to step up these final two and a half weeks to make sure the 2013 season moves past 162, so he can contribute something again this year, in the calendar month that so far has defined his career.

Will it be Adrian Beltre, whose baseball team this is, who after a monster July (.369/.414/.670) and equally torrid August (.381/.479/.577) is flicking at a .205/.279/.231 rate in September?

Will it continue to be Alex Rios, who in September is hitting a Beltre-like .378/.439/.703?

Will it be Elvis Andrus, whose July (.690 OPS) was his best month of the season after a miserable offensive first half, until he was better in August (.747 OPS), and who’s off to an even better September (.931 OPS)?

Will it be Leonys Martin, whose All-Star-level plate work in May and June (.307/.355/.486) has been replaced by a second-half struggle (.238/.300/.326)?

Will it be Juremi’s big brother Jurickson? Mike Trout hit .213/.277/.366 in his first 159 big league plate appearances, and no, Jurickson Profar (along with everyone else in baseball) is no Mike Trout, and Profar has been encumbered with inconsistent playing time and the less-than-ideal schedule of varied defensive assignments, but in 329 big league plate appearances he’s a .233/.303/.339 hitter. Now would be a great time for him to introduce us to another level. Time for a tear.

The difference between Trout and Profar is no more pronounced than the difference between Cliff Lee and Matt Garza, so keep that in mind when I point out that Lee went 4-6, 3.98 in 15 regular-season starts (team record of 6-9) after Texas traded for the rental lefthander in 2010, recording 21.7 outs per start and fanning 8.0 hitters per nine innings, while Garza has gone 3-4, 4.46 in 10 starts (team record of 6-4) since Texas traded for the rental righthander in July, recording 20 outs per start and fanning 8.5 hitters per nine innings.

Again, Matt Garza is no Cliff Lee and isn’t even in the same zip code. But maybe his best baseball for this club is ahead of him.

Will it be Garza?

Will it be Yu Darvish? (That’s sort of a silly premise, since we’d already be saying he’s stepped it up all season if his teammates were scoring a couple more times a game for him.)

Will it be the starting rotation as a whole, which had been so good all season but is 1-8, 5.26 as a unit in September, allowing opponents to hit .311/.374/.502?

Will it be A.J. Pierzynski, whose September 2005 (.229/.289/.325) and September 2008 (.224/.258/.306) were his worst months in what were his last two playoff seasons?

Will it be David Murphy, a career beast in August (.298/.356/.489) and September (.306/.362/.489) who hasn’t done a thing since May this year, hitting .216/.287/.357 in that span? Can he step it up over these final 18 September games, helping his team reach the post-season and helping himself as he nears free agency?

Will it be Mitch Moreland (.288/.338/.561 vs. .188/.270/.356) or Jeff Baker (.317/.391/.695 vs. .241/.318/.397), who were fantastic before fluky June injuries and have been so disappointing since?

No.

It’s going to be Ian Kinsler.

Ian Kinsler is going to bring it, starting this weekend against the Oakland A’s.

It’s Ian Kinsler.

Looking ahead.

I’ve been part of a season ticket group since Rangers Ballpark opened in 1994, the same year that I moved back to Dallas and started my law career. That group originated at the law firm I started with and moved with those of us who opened our new firm six years ago.

There are some very savvy baseball fans in our group, and so when we divide the tickets up every March, it’s necessary to bring some strategy to the table. For many, many years, my focus was on Opening Day plus a fairly even distribution of games throughout the season, so I could spread out the serenity-adrenaline over those six months that were so much better than the other six months on the calendar. I’d pay some perfunctory attention to trial settings and kids’ recitals and other competing appointments, but the general priority was to make sure I never went too long without a visit to the Temple.

The last few years — the contender years — there’s been a slight shift in the plan, which this year was executed to an extreme: Almost all of the games I chose on Ticket Draft Day were in April and September. When your team is great, a thing that I now expect of the Texas Rangers every March, those are the two best months of the regular season. While there’s plenty of appeal to the out-of-school months, for me that doesn’t measure up to the April crave or the September intensity of a ticket to the ballgame, and in 2013 I set things up accordingly.

Next year I’m sure I’ll try to do the same. The 2014 schedule was unveiled yesterday, and Texas opens at home — against Philadelphia, which should mean Yu Darvish against Cliff Lee on an awesome Monday afternoon — and plays 17 of its final 26 games at home, including the last seven, which will be against Houston and Oakland, also awesome (for different reasons). I expect Chuck Morgan to introduce a very different Rangers team next March 31, but I have no doubt that it’s going to be a strong team, postured to play crucial games in September and poised to continue playing into October.

In spite of the last two nights and the last four series, I’m not sitting here diverting my thoughts toward next year in any sort of disconsolate, resigned way. I’m thinking squarely about Matt Garza vs. A.J. Burnett and how huge today’s game is and about how badly the Rangers need to win this afternoon for all kinds of reasons and about #CastleDoctrine and about how glad I am that I decided in March to load up on September tickets, including today’s. There have been many more years since 1994 when mid-September baseball thoughts were centered on “next year” than not, but 2013 is not one of them.

It’s just that next year’s schedule came out yesterday.

And with that, I’m done thinking about 2014 and how many times I’ll be on hand next April and next September, and instead focused single-mindedly on how many times I’m going to have the opportunity to sit in our seats at the Ballpark next month.

Conversation fear.

I predict with absolute confidence that you will hear Mackenzy Bernadeau’s name on the radio today 10 times more frequently than Yu Darvish’s, because that’s the way the conversation generally goes here on Cowboys Mondays. I’m a Cowboys fan and I get that. I also don’t like it.

I predict with only slightly less confidence that Yu Darvish is going to absolutely shove tonight. He will settle back into beast mode and fire one of his best games as a Major Leaguer, as the 81-61 Rangers, 1.5 games back in the division and holding down home field at the moment for AL Game 163, host the 81-61 Pirates, 1.5 games back in the division and holding down home field at the moment for NL Game 163.

I predict with a slight bit of surprise that A.J. Pierzynski will probably catch Darvish tonight. Five days ago I would have bet on Geovany Soto, given what appeared to go down between Darvish and Pierzynski Wednesday afternoon (harmless or not), but Soto caught yesterday, and so there’s that.

Who catches for Texas tonight would probably make a more interesting talk show segment than Terrance Williams vs. Dwayne Harris going forward, but I’m realistic about such things.

Texas has never faced promising rookie righthander Gerrit Cole, who goes for Pittsburgh tonight, but he throws really hard, and that’s probably good.

Martin Perez-Francisco Liriano tomorrow is just as fascinating a matchup, and there’s some subtext to Matt Garza-A.J. Burnett on Wednesday, too, and who knows, maybe the troika of Liam Hendriks, Mike Pelfrey, and Kevin Correia have something left for Oakland these next three days, even if they nearly emptied their bags of tricks against Texas last week.

I sorta like that the Pirates are throwing Cole tonight, and that they’re a really good team that the Rangers can’t afford to look past with the A’s poised to visit Arlington this coming weekend for the last three regular season games between the two AL West leaders. There’s no more room, and no more time, for this club to let down.

We’re just under 12 hours away from Darvish against Cole, opening the third of eight straight biggest-series-of-the-year series of pennant race baseball games, and I can’t wait, and I’ll mention Darvish here one last time to make sure he gets referenced three times as often today, at least in this space, as Mr. Bernadeau.

Starting to wobble.

On the morning of September 8, 1972:  27.5 games back

1973:  33.5 games back
1974:  6.5 games back
1975:  17.5 games back
1976:  16.0 games back
1977:  8.0 games back
1978:  8.0 games back
1979:  8.5 games back
1980:  18.5 games back
1981:  3.5 games back
1982:  23.0 games back
1983:  15.0 games back
1984:  9.5 games back
1985:  27.0 games back
1986:  7.5 games back
1987:  9.0 games back
1988:  26.0 games back
1989:  13.5 games back
1990:  16.5 games back
1991:  11.0 games back
1992:  14.5 games back
1993:  5.0 games back
1994:  season ended a month earlier due to players’ strike, with Texas 0.5 games up; post-season was canceled
1995:  7.0 games back
1996:  7.0 games up
1997:  12.0 games back
1998:  3.0 games back
1999:  8.5 games up
2000:  14.0 games back
2001:  36.0 games back, with Alex Rodriguez
2002:  24.0 games back, with Alex Rodriguez
2003:  20.0 games back, with Alex Rodriguez
2004:  5.5 games back
2005:  9.0 games back
2006:  9.0 games back
2007:  17.5 games back
2008:  17.0 games back
2009:  5.5 games back
2010:  7.0 games up
2011:  2.5 games up
2012:  4.5 games up
2013:  1.5 games back

It could be better.  But it could be a lot worse.

I’m not sure if last night was the season’s most important game, but it might have been the most poorly played, and the Rangers, winners of only two of their last eight, find themselves in their third-worst run of a season that’s been remarkably streaky, all while Oakland has ripped off 10 wins in 13 games to move from 2.5 games down to 1.5 games up.

On the subject of streaks, while Texas has its rotation as stable now as it’s been all year, at least in terms of health and the roll call, there’s this:

Yu Darvish through August 17:  12-5, 2.64.

In four starts since then: 0-2, 4.50.

Derek Holland through August 16:  9-6, 2.95.

In three starts since then: 0-2, 5.51.

Matt Garza through August 13:  8-2, 3.23 (including 2-1, 3.38 with Texas).

In five starts since then: 1-2, 5.13.

In spite of a wicked rash of starting pitcher injuries in 2013, the rotation has been very consistent and very good, carrying the club when the offense couldn’t.

Suddenly, though, it’s Martin Perez (6-0, 2.54 in seven starts since July 31) who has been the Rangers’ most dependable starter at the most important time of the season.

Twenty-two-year-old rookie Martin Perez.

The Dallas Cowboys play one-sixteenth of their schedule tonight.  The Rangers have two-sixteenths of their schedule left.  I don’t know what to expect from the football team, and nothing would surprise me — my expectations are low.

My expectations are very high for the baseball team, in spite of this stretch of ugly ball, lots of which has come against teams that aren’t very good.

This is a club that, just a month ago, was in the midst of a stretch of extraordinary baseball that included 17 wins in 21 games, and 22 of 28.

Texas (probably) doesn’t need to go 17-4 over these final 21 regular season games to win the West and avoid a win-or-go-home Game 163.  But with only three match-ups left against Oakland, there’s a lot of separate business that’s going to need to be taken care of, and with the 2013 season entering the final half of its fourth quarter, it’s time for this club to lock in and go on a new run.

It’s time for this very good baseball team to play good baseball again.

Sonny Gray vs. Brad Peacock.

The A’s were winners of 8 of 10 and a .629 club at home.

The Astros were losers of 8 of 11 and a .343 club on the road.

Oakland rookie Sonny Gray came into the game with an 0.83 ERA in three home starts.

Houston journeyman Brad Peacock came into the game with a 5.98 ERA no matter where he pitched.

Astros first baseman Chris Carter, who along with Peacock was traded by Oakland to Houston seven months ago in package to get shortstop Jed Lowrie, singled off Gray with two outs and two on in the top of the first inning last night, giving the A’s a quick 1-0 lead that would stand up.  It took four Houston pitchers to hold Oakland to two runs in the bottom of the eighth, stranding the tying run (Lowrie) and go-ahead run on base as Yoenis Cespedes grounded out to third off journeyman reliever Josh Fields (6.07 ERA), who stayed in the game and retired the A’s in order in the ninth, preserving a 3-2 Astros win in O.co.

The Rangers, hanging out in Anaheim, were probably glued to Broncos-Ravens instead of watching Oakland lose its third out of four meetings with Houston, the worst team in baseball.

0.5.

The last time the Rangers visited the Angels, they outscored Los Angeles, 23-8, and swept the three-game series.

The Angels were in a lengthy tailspin then.  They’re now a club that, without Albert Pujols, has won 10 of 13.

The Angels, 4-9 against the A’s and 2-10 against the Rangers, have more than half of their remaining games against Oakland (six) and Texas (seven), beginning tonight with ex-Ranger C.J. Wilson (10-1, 2.79 in his last 15 starts) against Californian Matt Garza.

It’s September 6, and it’s awesome that Sonny Gray vs. Brad Peacock mattered a whole lot.

0.5.

Let’s go.

Lefty.

It started the way Rangers games seem to be starting and ending lately, with a first-and-third, one-out, middle-of-the-lineup-due opportunity squandered and then, nine pitches into the bottom of the frame, a double and two productive outs, such an elusive concept of late, give the other guys a quick 1-0 lead.

What happened from that point forward was Lefty the Salesman opening his Muppet trench coat and asking (pssst) if he could interest you in a big batch of You Can’t Predict Ball.

Last year, on September 26, in Game 155, Martin Perez faced Oakland at home.  His start lasted two outs, and his ledger was splattered with five runs on six hits, raising his ERA from 3.78 to 5.03 and narrowing the Rangers’ division lead over the A’s to three games with seven to go.

Five days later, in Game 160, Perez started in O.co Coliseum.  He gave up two runs in the first and two more in the fifth, getting chased without getting an out in that inning, and Texas would lose, 4-3, sending relievers Scott Feldman, Michael Kirkman, Koji Uehara, and Roy Oswalt to the mound in a critical game that drew the A’s to within a game of the Rangers, with two regular season games to go.

Perez was left off the playoff roster for Game 163, even though, four days after throwing 69 pitches, he’d theoretically have been available to contribute an inning or two.

He wasn’t ready.

He wasn’t anything close to the same guy he is today.

Still, even though Perez has been really good the last five weeks, this was Oakland, whom the 22-year-old hadn’t faced since those two season-ending starts, and when the game started the way it did last night, well, you know.

And then he started busting the fastball inside and locating that filthy change down and away and he walked nobody and in fact had only one three-ball count until his final inning of work and he fanned five and every one of those five came with runners on base and four them came on swings and misses and a couple shutdown innings turned into a shutdown outing and six straight starts won is a franchise record for a rookie and the last four have come against Felix Hernandez, Chris Sale, Felix Hernandez, and Bartolo Colon, who will share space on a different list in two months, and he’s barely half Colon’s age and barely half Colon’s weight and was twice as good last night in front of 16,133 which is not a typo and there’s Jurickson making huge plays at shortstop and making big noise at the plate when he’s allowed to swing the bat and speaking of Profar in the field that heady diving-snare-and-throw-home to get Joshy “no more sliding” D seemed to shift momentum and speaking of Profar at the plate what if he’d gotten more of a chance to do that last September and October and that’s water under the bridge and water is for sharks and stuff and let’s focus on Profar and Perez and the Rangers in 2013 and that’s now 21 straight wins when the offense scores at least four which is not unrelated to the fact that the pitching staff has now allowed five or fewer runs in 31 straight baseball games which is staggering to think about and is one thing that distinguishes late 2013 from late 2012 and another one of those things is Martin Perez and now it’s Darvish Day and yyyyyyyyaaaaaaaaaRRRRRRRRRRR and mismatched socks and no tweets and respect the streak, especially the one My Favorite Martin is on, and pssst.

Pssst.

Lefty here.

Can I interest you in some more of that?

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