They had the best record in the league late into June, and proceeded to lose 12 out of 17 — including a current run of six losses in their last seven games. Four games have been shaved off in the division.
That lead is still healthy, even if the skid is not, and if they’d built this exact cushion rather than regressing to it, we’d all be fired up.
Instead, they no longer have the best record in the league, and because sports fans live acutely, there’s a prevailing sense of angst and gloom, with some shade of hysteria seemingly just around the corner.
That’s the state of the Chicago Cubs.
The Texas Rangers, on the other hand, do still have the best record in their league, even though their last week-plus has been as ugly as the Cubs’ last half a month.
In fact, for 104 minutes yesterday, Texas had the best record in either league.
Actually, that distinction lasted a bit more than five hours, but the way Boston 11, Texas 6 went, there were approximately no minutes during that ballgame that felt very good.
When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait for the All-Star Break, so that I could talk my parents into letting me stay up late enough for Jim Sundberg’s lone at-bat off the bench in the Mid-Summer Classic, or Jim Kern’s inning late in the game.
Today, I can’t wait for the All-Star Break, though for an entirely different reason.
We may not remember this when the playoffs are underway, but the best team in the league — which for a while yesterday was the best team in baseball, at least by the inarguable measure — could use a few days off.
We all could, probably.
November 16, 2005
Traded Clint Brannon to the Chicago Cubs for Jon Leicester.
December 8, 2005
Traded Alfonso Soriano to the Washington Nationals for Brad Wilkerson, Armando Galarraga, and Terrmel Sledge.
Traded Esteban German to the Kansas City Royals for Rule 5 selection Fabio Castro.
December 12, 2005
Traded a player to be named later (Ricardo Rodriguez) to the Philadelphia Phillies for Vicente Padilla.
January 6, 2006
Traded Adrian Gonzalez, Chris Young, and Terrmel Sledge to the San Diego Padres for Adam Eaton, Akinori Otsuka, and Billy Killian.
March 31, 2006
Traded Juan Dominguez to the Oakland Athletics for John Rheinecker and (as part of three-team trade) John Koronka and cash from the Chicago Cubs.
April 1, 2006
Traded David Dellucci to the Philadelphia Phillies for Robinson Tejeda and Jake Blalock.
May 11, 2006
Traded John Hudgins and Vincent Sinisi to the San Diego Padres for Freddy Guzman and Cesar Rojas.
May 13, 2006
Traded Brian Shouse to the Milwaukee Brewers for Enrique Cruz and cash.
May 31, 2006
Traded Phil Nevin and cash to the Chicago Cubs for Jerry Hairston Jr.
June 29, 2006
Traded Fabio Castro to the Philadelphia Phillies for Daniel Haigwood and cash.
July 1, 2006
Traded Tim Olson to the Toronto Blue Jays for Joey McLaughlin.
July 28, 2006
Traded Francisco Cordero, Kevin Mench, Laynce Nix, and Julian Cordero to the Milwaukee Brewers for Carlos Lee and Nelson Cruz.
July 30, 2006
Traded Bryan Corey to the Boston Red Sox for Luis Mendoza.
July 31, 2006
Traded Jose Diaz to the Kansas City Royals for Matt Stairs.
Traded Jesse Chavez to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Kip Wells.
August 30, 2006
Traded Mike Nickeas to the New York Mets for Victor Diaz.
December 23, 2006
Traded John Danks, Nick Masset, and Jake Rasner to the Chicago White Sox for Brandon McCarthy and David Paisano.
January 12, 2007
Traded John Lujan to the Chicago White Sox for Chris Stewart.
April 19, 2007
Traded Daniel Haigwood to the Boston Red Sox for Scott Shoemaker and cash.
July 27, 2007
Traded Kenny Lofton to the Cleveland Indians for Max Ramirez.
July 31, 2007
Traded Eric Gagne and cash to the Boston Red Sox for David Murphy, Kason Gabbard, and Engel Beltre.
Traded Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay to the Atlanta Braves for Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Beau Jones.
December 5, 2007
Traded Freddy Guzman to the Detroit Tigers for Chris Shelton.
December 12, 2007
Traded Tug Hulett to the Seattle Mariners for Ben Broussard.
December 21, 2007
Traded Edinson Volquez and Danny Ray Herrera to the Cincinnati Reds for Josh Hamilton.
February 5, 2008
Traded Armando Galarraga to the Detroit Tigers for Mike Hernandez.
March 28, 2008
Traded Jose Marte to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Dustin Nippert.
May 9, 2008
Traded Kevin Mench to the Toronto Blue Jays for cash considerations.
August 25, 2008
Traded Eddie Guardado to the Minnesota Twins for Mark Hamburger.
November 20, 2008
Traded John Mayberry to the Philadelphia Phillies for Greg Golson.
November 28, 2008
Traded Wes Littleton to the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named later (Beau Vaughan) and cash.
December 7, 2008
Traded Gerald Laird to the Detroit Tigers for Guillermo Moscoso and Carlos Melo.
August 18, 2009
Traded Matt Nevarez and a player to be named later (Jose Vallejo) to the Houston Astros for Ivan Rodriguez.
September 3, 2009
Traded Manny Pina and Tim Smith to the Kansas City Royals for Danny Gutierrez.
December 7, 2009
Traded future considerations to the Detroit Tigers for Clay Rapada.
December 9, 2009
Traded future considerations to the Colorado Rockies for Jason Grilli.
December 9, 2009
Traded Kevin Millwood and cash to the Baltimore Orioles for Chris Ray and Rule 5 selection Ben Snyder.
January 26, 2010
Traded Greg Golson to the New York Yankees for Mitch Hilligoss and cash.
March 9, 2010
Traded cash considerations to the New York Yankees for Edwar Ramirez.
March 22, 2010
Traded Ray Olmedo to the Milwaukee Brewers for Matt Treanor.
March 24, 2010
Traded Edwar Ramirez to the Oakland Athletics for Gregorio Petit.
March 27, 2010
Traded future considerations to the Chicago Cubs for Andres Blanco.
April 1, 2010
Traded Edwin Escobar to the San Francisco Giants for right to retain Rule 5 selection Ben Snyder.
April 2, 2010
Traded Luis Mendoza to the Kansas City Royals for cash considerations.
July 1, 2010
Traded Michael Main and Chris Ray to the San Francisco Giants for Bengie Molina.
July 9, 2010
Traded Justin Smoak, Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke, and Matt Lawson to the Seattle Mariners for Cliff Lee and Mark Lowe.
July 29, 2010
Traded Omar Poveda and Evan Reed to the Florida Marlins for Jorge Cantu.
July 30, 2010
Traded Tanner Roark and Ryan Tatusko to the Washington Nationals for Cristian Guzman.
July 31, 2010
Traded Jarrod Saltalamacchia to the Boston Red Sox for Roman Mendez, Chris McGuiness, a player to be named later (Michael Thomas), and cash.
August 31, 2010
Traded Joaquin Arias to the New York Mets for Jeff Francoeur and cash.
December 9, 2010
Traded cash considerations to the Chicago Cubs for Rule 5 selection Mason Tobin.
January 8, 2011
Traded Guillermo Moscoso to the Oakland Athletics for Ryan Kelly.
January 25, 2011
Traded Frank Francisco to the Toronto Blue Jays for Mike Napoli.
July 19, 2011
Traded Zach Phillips to the Baltimore Orioles for Nick Green and cash.
July 30, 2011
Traded Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter to the Baltimore Orioles for Koji Uehara.
July 31, 2011
Traded Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland to the San Diego Padres for Mike Adams.
August 31, 2011
Traded a player to be named later (Pedro Strop) to the Baltimore Orioles for Mike Gonzalez.
December 1, 2011
Traded Taylor Teagarden to the Baltimore Orioles for Randy Henry and a player to be named later (Greg Miclat).
December 21, 2011
Traded Ryan Kelly to the San Diego Padres for Luis Martinez.
January 3, 2012
Traded cash considerations to the Baltimore Orioles for Brandon Snyder.
January 5, 2012
Traded Chad Tracy to the Colorado Rockies for Greg Reynolds.
January 18, 2012
Outbid everyone in Major League Baseball for the right to negotiate with Yu Darvish.
July 31, 2012
Traded Kyle Hendricks and Christian Villanueva to the Chicago Cubs for Ryan Dempster.
Traded Jake Brigham and player to be named or cash to the Chicago Cubs for Geovany Soto.
November 8, 2012
Traded a player to be named later (Desmond Henry) to the Kansas City Royals for Tommy Hottovy.
November 20, 2012
Traded Barret Loux to the Chicago Cubs for Jake Brigham.
November 28, 2012
Traded a player to be named later (Wilfredo Boscan) to the San Diego Padres for Cory Burns.
December 9, 2012
Traded Michael Young and cash to the Philadelphia Phillies for Lisalverto Bonilla and Josh Lindblom.
April 7, 2013
Traded a player to be named later or cash to the Tampa Bay Rays for Robinson Chirinos.
April 16, 2013
Traded Jeff Beliveau to the Tampa Bay Rays for cash considerations.
June 21, 2013
Traded Yoshinori Tateyama to the New York Yankees for future considerations.
July 22, 2013
Traded C.J. Edwards, Mike Olt, Justin Grimm, and a player to be named later (Neil Ramirez) to the Chicago Cubs for Matt Garza.
August 9, 2013
Traded a player to be named later (Leury Garcia) to the Chicago White Sox for Alex Rios.
August 14, 2013
Traded a player to be named later or cash to the Houston Astros for Travis Blackley.
November 20, 2013
Traded Ian Kinsler to the Detroit Tigers for Prince Fielder and cash.
December 3, 2013
Traded Craig Gentry and Josh Lindblom to the Oakland Athletics for Michael Choice and Chris Bostick.
December 30, 2013
Traded Chris McGuiness to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Miles Mikolas.
April 12, 2014
Traded future considerations to the Seattle Mariners for Hector Noesi.
April 23, 2014
Traded cash considerations to the San Diego Padres for Daniel Robertson.
July 16, 2014
Traded Jason Frasor to the Kansas City Royals for Spencer Patton.
July 23, 2014
Traded Joakim Soria to the Detroit Tigers for Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel.
August 15, 2014
Traded Justin Germano to the Los Angeles Dodgers for cash or future considerations.
August 23, 2014
Traded Chris Gimenez to the Cleveland Indians for cash or future considerations.
August 24, 2014
Traded Geovany Soto to the Oakland Athletics for cash considerations.
November 20, 2014
Traded Daniel Robertson to the Los Angeles Angels for a player to be named later or cash.
December 12, 2014
Traded Chris Bostick and Abel De Los Santos to the Washington Nationals for Ross Detwiler.
January 19, 2015
Traded Marcos Diplan, Corey Knebel, and Luis Sardinas to the Milwaukee Brewers for Yovani Gallardo and cash.
January 21, 2015
Traded Akeem Bostick to the Houston Astros for Carlos Corporan.
January 27, 2015
Traded Robbie Ross Jr. to the Boston Red Sox for Anthony Ranaudo.
March 28, 2015
Traded a player to be named later or cash to the St. Louis Cardinals for Sam Freeman.
April 27, 2015
Traded a player to be named later or cash to the Los Angeles Angels for Josh Hamilton and cash.
August 23, 2014
Traded Carlos Peguero to the Boston Red Sox for cash considerations.
July 31, 2015
Traded Cody Ege and Tomas Telis to the Miami Marlins for Sam Dyson.
Traded Jorge Alfaro, Jake Thompson, Nick Williams, Alec Asher, Jerad Eickhoff, and Matt Harrison to the Philadelphia Phillies for Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman, and cash.
August 7, 2015
Traded a player to be named later or cash to the Boston Red Sox for Mike Napoli and cash.
August 18, 2015
Traded a player to be named later (Jon Edwards) and Marcus Greene to the San Diego Padres for Will Venable.
November 16, 2015
Traded Leonys Martin and Anthony Bass to the Seattle Mariners for Tom Wilhelmsen, James Jones, and a player to be named later (Patrick Kivlehan).
November 20, 2015
Traded Spencer Patton to the Chicago Cubs for Frandy De La Rosa.
March 29, 2016
Traded Myles Jaye and Bobby Wilson to the Detroit Tigers for Bryan Holaday.
May 3, 2016
Traded Chad Bell to the Detroit Tigers for Bobby Wilson.
May 12, 2016
Traded Anthony Ranaudo to the Chicago White Sox for Matt Ball.
May 29, 2016
Traded Patrick Kivlehan to the Seattle Mariners for a player to be named later (Justin De Fratus).
June 21, 2016
Traded cash considerations to the Los Angeles Angels for Kyle Kubitza.
If I were a Twins blogger this morning, I’d probably be sitting down to write an Annotated History of Kurt Suzuki’s Bunt Attempts.
Either that, or a piece speculating on whether Fernando Abad could possibly spring a guy like Joe Palumbo free at the trade deadline.
If I were an Astros blogger, I’d be penning a piece titled: “How to Win Four Straight, 13 of 15, and 26 of 35, and Gain a Game and a Half: A Quantitative Analysis.”
If I were an Angels blogger, I wouldn’t have the stomach to write about what happened Friday night with two outs in the top of the ninth in Boston, so I’d instead sit down to map out the timing of when the Los Angeles window, considering present big league talent, the state of the farm system, the franchise’s presence internationally, and its stack of trade chips this month, projects to line up with the Rangers and Astros.
Then, lacking the stomach to tell the truth, I’d write about the dawning of Luol Deng’s Lakers career.
If I were a Brewers blogger, I’d responsibly dismiss Jon Heyman’s idea that Jonathan Lucroy could fetch Joey Gallo, and, beaten down by yet another disappointing season, wax nostalgically about the time that Milwaukee took 29-year-old lifelong shortstop Robin Yount and made him a left fielder, cold turkey, and then, within the same season, moved him to center field, where he lasted for nine years (into his late-30s), earning one MVP award and top 20 finishes two other times, and finishing the piece by wondering aloud if there’s another guy like that in the big leagues today.
If I were a Nationals blogger, I’d write about Washington’s decision over the last week to transition top prospect Trea Turner, a lifelong shortstop, to center field in AAA, at least part of the time, because big league shortstop Danny Espinosa’s power appears to be coming back, and I’d finish the story wondering aloud what might have happened if Washington had ever given thought to taking lifelong National Ian Desmond and . . . well, yeah.
If I were an Indians blogger, I’d write about Friday night’s exceptional win, the club’s 14th straight, but would throw together a companion piece wondering what it would look like if Cleveland, with Michael Brantley sidelined in camp and the club’s outfield not exactly firmed up otherwise, had been the team to offer Ian Desmond a pillow contract and an opportunity to move his game from the dirt to the grass.
If I were a Cardinals blogger, I’d write something up wondering what it would look like if St. Louis, given its outfield situation and its perennial posture to win a pennant, had been the team to offer Ian Desmond a pillow contract and an opportunity to move his game from the dirt to the grass.
If I were a Dodgers blogger, I’d write something up wondering what it would look like if Los Angeles, given its endless supply of Monopoly money and the way its outfield has been patched together, had been the team to offer Ian Desmond a pillow contract and an opportunity to move his game from the dirt to the grass.
If I were a White Sox blogger, I’d write something up wondering what it would look like if Chicago, which gave a one-year deal to Austin Jackson to provide outfield depth, had been the team to offer Ian Desmond a pillow contract and an opportunity to move his game from the dirt to the grass.
If I were a Tigers blogger, I’d write something up wondering what it would look like if Detroit, rather than trading Ian Krol and a prospect to Atlanta for Cameron Maybin in November, had been the team to offer Ian Desmond a pillow contract and an opportunity to move his game from the dirt to the grass.
If I were a Giants blogger, I’d talk about an NL-leading 51 wins, noting anecdotally that Texas has 52, despite getting almost nothing from Yu Darvish, boasting the second-worst bullpen ERA in the American League, and surviving extended early-season slumps from Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland.
If I were a Cubs blogger, I’d try to imagine what the first year will be, going forward, that no major sports outlet predicts a Cubs-Rangers World Series before the season.
If I were an A’s blogger, I’d play “One of These Things Is Not Like the Others (or Maybe They’re All Alike)” and offer up the following:
(1) Josh Donaldson for Brett Lawrie, Kendall Graveman, Sean Nolin, and Franklin Barreto
(2) Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street, and Greg Smith for Matt Holliday . . . and eight months later Holliday for Clayton Mortensen, Shane Peterson, and Brett Wallace
(3) Addison Russell, Billy McKinney, and Dan Straily for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel
(4) Poop dugouts
If I were a Mariners blogger, I’d avoid writing about Seattle’s run of 17 losses in 27 games, dropping them from a tie atop the division to 10.5 games back, and celebrate the distinction of being the only team in baseball to visit Texas and win a series in 2016.
It was the opening series of the season.
If I were a Phillies blogger, I’d continue to celebrate one of the great win-win baseball trades in years and develop that into a piece speculating on whether Jeanmar Gomez could possibly spring a guy like Jose Valdespina or Tyler Ferguson free at the trade deadline.
If I were a Reds blogger, I think I’d probably write an infuriatingly long run-on sentence that ended: “ . . . and miserable baseball is miserable.”
If I were a Braves blogger, I’d reminisce about the time Bobby Cox became the first and only skipper to win Manager of the Year in his league in consecutive years (2004-05), and wonder if it could ever happen again.
If I were a Yankees blogger, I’d ask myself how things might be different, now and looking ahead, if Jeff Banister were managing that club, but then I’d lose my train of thought, type “I KNOW YOU ARE BUT WHAT AM I??,” and go high-five myself in the mirror.
If I were a Mets blogger, I’d be glad I wasn’t a Yankees blogger.
If I were a Padres blogger, I’d be writing about their majestic J2 haul today, but then work up a piece speculating on whether Drew Pomeranz could possibly spring a package like Jose Leclerc and Ryan Cordell free at the trade deadline, or whether Ryan Buchter could pry a guy like Eric Jenkins or Brett Martin free, or, failing that, whether Brad Hand could net a guy like Jonathan Hernandez.
If I were a Blue Jays blogger, I’d comment on Heyman’s note that one scout called current Rockies (and former Toronto) pitching prospect Jeff Hoffman “a second [Noah] Syndergaard” (also a former Toronto farmhand) before throwing a beer can aimlessly.
If I were a Marlins blogger, I’d compare moving Chris Paddack for Fernando Rodney to moving Sam Dyson for Tomas Telis and Cody Ege, concluding that I’d rather have Paddack than Telis/Ege . . . and much rather have Dyson than Rodney.
If I were a Pirates blogger, I’d work up a story speculating on whether the duo of Mark Melancon and Tony Watson could possibly spring a package like Yohander Mendez and Michael De Leon free at the trade deadline.
If I were a Diamondbacks blogger, I’d write a piece speculating on whether Tyler Clippard could possibly spring a guy like Ariel Jurado free at the trade deadline.
If I were a Rockies blogger, I’d dump a short report speculating on whether Boone Logan could possibly spring a guy like Erik Swanson free at the trade deadline — and whether selling low on Jake McGee, who’s been unusually ineffective and bothered by a barking knee, would make sense if the return were, say, Drew Robinson and Tyler Phillips.
If I were a Rays blogger, I’d pen a report speculating on whether either Jake Odorizzi or Matt Moore would be enough to convince Texas to part, once and for all, with Jurickson Profar, and if not, whether padding the deal with Xavier Cedeno would make a difference, and if not, whether getting Chi Chi Gonzalez and Yeyson Yrizarri back instead of Profar would be enough.
If I were a Red Sox blogger, I’d note — in advance of a big Boston-Texas series at Fenway Park starting Monday — that the Rangers scored 19 runs (13 earned) on 26 hits in the 12.1 innings that Boston’s three starters pitched in last week’s series in Arlington. The Red Sox, who draw Nick Martinez, A.J. Griffin, and Martin Perez next week, list “To Be Announced” for all three games as far as their own rotation goes, and that’s a team that’s reeling a bit. Big month for Boston, I’d write, given the crowded Wild Card race and Dave Dombrowski’s consistent willingness to move top-tier prospects for impact help.
If I were a Royals blogger, I’d never write a “If I Were a Blogger for Another Team” piece, because they’re tedious and a lot less interesting the longer they drag on.
If I were an Orioles blogger, I would think about writing about the one game that Stephen Curry’s father Dell, who had a 16-year NBA career of his own, pitched for the Gastonia Rangers in 1991, six years after he’d been drafted by Baltimore in the 14th round and five years into his pro basketball career. The older Curry gave up one run on three hits and a walk in three innings, fanning four. Stephen was three years old.
But I’m a Rangers blogger, and writing about yet another big win and Ian Desmond’s role in it and another sneaky-strong effort from Martin Perez just didn’t seem all that gripping.
Not that the alternative turned out to be.
“Veteran scouts are blown away by [the] Rangers’ farm system, counting 16 legitimate prospects, easily the most in MLB, giving them ammo for trades.
“So, yes, the Rangers, who need bullpen help, have plenty of prospects to land whoever they desire at the trade deadline.”
So tweeted USA Today’s Bob Nightengale yesterday.
San Diego traded closer Fernando Rodney to the Marlins, also yesterday, for Low A righthander Chris Paddack, a Cedar Park product whose last three starts, presumably some of which the Padres had pro scouts sitting on, went like this: 15 Greensboro Grasshopper innings, zero hits, one walk, 28 strikeouts.
In the third of those three starts, this past Saturday, your Hickory Crawdads scored three times in the ninth and tenth to pull out the win. Does the scout Nightengale talked to count that day’s Hickory starter, righthander Pedro Payano (.213/.296/.285, 25 walks and 75 strikeouts in 69 innings), among his 16? Debatable.
If Texas hadn’t made its trade with Philadelphia this month last year, that scout would have his number over 20.
But the Rangers wouldn’t have Cole Hamels (9-1, 2.60), or Jake Diekman (.173/.256/.288, 34 strikeouts and 10 walks in 29.2 innings), or a playoff berth in 2015, and who knows what in 2016.
Prospect inventory is meant to be built and to be spent.
On July 2, 2011, Texas signed 16-year-olds Nomar Mazara, Ronald Guzman, Yohander Mendez, and the aforementioned Payano, a few months after signing Rougned Odor, a 2010 J2-eligible player who signed late because teams weren’t stepping up financially over concerns about his size, average speed, and defensive limitation to second base. (Texas paid Odor $425,000, less than a tenth of the record-setting amount it paid Mazara.)
Mazara and Odor aren’t on that scout’s list because, just five years later, the 21- and 22-year-old are established big leaguers, but Guzman and Mendez surely are, even if Payano may or may not be.
Texas added more punch from Venezuela and the Dominican Republic in its 2011 J2 class than the Angels have in their entire system.
As for the Rangers’ 2011 draft, a month before that J2 splash, it was disappointing at the top (first-rounders Kevin Matthews and Zach Cone have been released), but tremendously strong in the middle (8th-rounder Kyle Hendricks, 11th-rounder Connor Sadzeck, 14th-rounder Andrew Faulkner, 15th-rounder Jerad Eickhoff, 17th-rounder Ryan Rua, 18th-rounder Nick Martinez, 30th-rounder Phil Klein), and forever anecdotal late (48th-rounder C.J. Edwards).
While Texas went to its second straight World Series that year, in the trenches the franchise was adding layers and layers of prospect ammunition.
Tomorrow is July 2, and the Rangers will again make noise. Rumors tie them to the top catcher on the international market, Venezuelan 16-year-old David Garcia.
The big club coming away with a split this week in New York (arguably acceptable given that three of the games were started by reinforcements Martinez, Chi Chi Gonzalez, and A.J. Griffin), failing to coming away with a winnable three or even four, might have the Yankees, at least for the moment, deciding not to put their late-inning relievers on the trade market. That’s notable, including here.
Rodney has moved, which theoretically opens the bullpen market for business, but the price is going to be high — for now — until a few more teams fall out of perceived contention over the next few weeks.
There isn’t going to be an equivalent Sam Dyson deal for Tomas Telis and Cody Ege — two players that Nightengale’s source wouldn’t have included on his list a year ago — early this July.
Texas could use some help in the bullpen. Keone Kela is the best bet for now, and he’s getting closer.
You can count on a boost from outside as well. This month.
But the Rodney trade removes one chip from the market — not that he was on the Rangers’ radar, but whoever else might have been interested besides Miami theoretically now gets in on whoever Texas is targeting — and there are a lot more buyers (or at least non-sellers) for now than there will be in four weeks. And everyone needs bullpen help.
The point is this:
Jon Daniels and his crew are going to add significantly to the pipeline tomorrow.
And subtract from it, likely significantly, very soon.
Happy New Month.
So, what, you think I’m gonna write every day?
Just because there’s another victory to recount and celebrate, another series not lost, with two opportunities to plug it into the win column?
I’ve got a life, you know.
Cole Hamels was outstanding . . . blah blah blah . . . Ian Desmond was tremendous . . . yeah yeah yeah . . . Prince Fielder is coming out of it and so is Shawn Tolleson and Adrian Beltre is a damn treasure and the Rangers are damn good . . . how many times do you want this stuff reissued?
I could sit down this morning and talk instead about the historical significance of the Rangers’ record and their division lead or the makeup of this 25-man roster or that Ryan Rua story I’ve been wanting to write or the “unplugging” effect or Ronald Guzman and Travis Demeritte going to the Futures Game or Ryan Cordell MVP’ing the Texas League All-Star Game, or I could roll out a TROT COFFEY or deliver another quip in the developing Joe Girardi Joke Series or give you a heads-up about Newberg Report Night (circle August 14 on your calendar for now) or the new Newberg Report T-shirts that Paul Ylda designed and that you can buy right this second if you want, or I could say something stupid like kick-ass baseball is kick-ass.
But maybe I could use a break every once in a while. Did you think about that?
Someone suggested last night that if I take the day off from writing and then Texas loses tonight, it’s on me.
Yeah, I’m baseball-superstitious.
No mismatched socks this season, but I’m making up for it with daily mismatched quads.
Not that I’m planning on bringing those back in 2017.
I’m not going to write today.
I’m just not.
Let’s go, Nick Martinez.
Give me something to write about tomorrow.
Great baseball is great.
When the Rangers come back home, we’ll be at Game 87. When Texas finished off Boston yesterday, the final home game of the first half of the schedule had been played.
Over that first half of home games in 2016, know how many series Texas lost in Arlington?
Know how many other teams in all of baseball, aside from the Rangers, have won 49 ballgames?
Know how many wins over 103 Texas is on pace for?
Know what the exit velo was on Prince’s home run cannon yesterday?
Know what the Rangers’ longest losing streak is in the last 40 days?
Know how many career victories Clay Buchholz has in Arlington?
Wrong, Banny. It’s zero.
In the first two games in the Red Sox series, know how many of the 18 batters in the Rangers’ starting lineups failed to hit safely?
Know how many teams, including the Rangers, have a division lead as big as theirs?
And what’s that lead again?
Relatively speaking, the Rangers were reeling.
After a strong 7-2 run outside the division, against the Tigers and White Sox and Blue Jays, culminating with The Brawl, they’d grabbed their first AL West lead in a couple weeks, primed for nine straight in the division and a chance to create some distance.
And then they dropped three straight in Oakland on May 16-18: (1) Scored one run late against winless rookie Sean Manaea, who was coming off an effort in which he gave up eight Boston runs in 2.2 frames; (2) surrendered a walkoff grand slam, leading to a change in roles for closer Shawn Tolleson; and (3) managed four hits, all singles, in an 8-1 getaway day loss they were never in.
Swept in Oakland in front of 37,000 fans — in the three games combined — and out of first place in the division.
Rougned Odor was suspended by the league during that series.
Delino DeShields had just played his way into a ticket to AAA, as had Tom Wilhelmsen, whose winter acquisition to boost the pen cost Texas its other center fielder.
Yu Darvish was still out and A.J. Griffin was out and Shin-Soo Choo was out and Robinson Chirinos was out and Keone Kela was out and Tanner Scheppers was out and Andrew Faulkner was back in AAA.
As Texas was getting swept in Oakland, Houston — which had the second-worst record in the American League — won the first two of three on the road against the White Sox, who had led their division 23 straight days. The Astros had just gotten Lance McCullers back from injury and Evan Gattis back from a brief minor league reintroduction behind the plate. They were suddenly feeling pretty good about a season that, to date, had been nothing but brutal.
One more game in Chicago, and then the Astros would get to host Texas, a chance to get a suddenly wobbly team in their own building and an opportunity to continue cutting meaningfully into their division deficit, which sat at 6.0 games, the closest to the top Houston had been all month.
Where was this thing headed over, say, the next five-and-a-half weeks?
Houston has gone 22-12 since then. Its rotation has stabilized, its bullpen has shoved, and its offense has awakened. Only three teams in baseball have won more games in that time.
That 22-12 record, of course, includes 21-6 against every opponent that wasn’t Texas.
Including, at the moment, seven in a row, and nine of 10. The Astros are on a tear.
That 6.0-game division deficit (5.0 behind Texas) that immediately preceded Houston’s insanely hot five-and-a-half weeks?
It sits now at 9.0 games back.
Because one of those three teams with a better record than Houston since May 18 is Texas.
Which hasn’t lost consecutive games since that May 16-18 series in Oakland, and sits with an MLB-best 48 wins, a distinction shared with the Cubs and Giants only because the club wasn’t able to hold a six-run lead against Boston on Friday.
Boston catcher Christian Vazquez’s insanely strong pop time and seed to second base as Odor took off for second base with two outs in last night’s second inning?
Odor’s physically genius slide around Dustin Pedroia’s hapless tag attempt?
And that’s this morning’s edition of Today in Whatever.
Boston has the American League’s fourth-best record, but you’d have a tough time convincing me they’re not one of the two best teams in the AL.
They were visiting the best team in the league last night.
Two beasts going toe to toe.
Both offenses knocked around some very good big league pitching, and capitalized a bunch. On a night when there were 25 hits, seven for extra bases, the teams combined for more runs (15) than runners left on base (14).
The other guys were slightly more opportunistic.
The best players in the game don’t always get it done, because there are often extremely good players on the other side counter-punching.
It wasn’t the best night for the Rangers, as far as the ultimate measure goes, and as a result, with still another week to go before the season’s midpoint, they’re 20 games over .500.
The other guys capitalized more Friday night.
Another baseball game awaits. And then 87 more after that.
And then, because this is one of the best teams in baseball, more after that.