It’s an off-day for the Rangers – the first one in Texas since the day before the home opener against the Angels – and the record stands at 16-9, which is the second-best mark in baseball, while the division lead is 2.5 games, equaling the biggest edge of any team.
It feels like it comes at a very good time, as the Rangers have their first losing streak of the year, a two-game skid marked by lethargic offense and lousy baserunning. Yesterday’s loss resulted in a split in Minnesota – the culmination of 14 games on the road out of 17 – giving Texas five series wins on the season, zero series losses, and three series splits.
Compare those Angels, who had their own two-game losing streak in their season-opening set in Cincinnati, extended to three games once they fell to Texas when the home schedule kicked off in Arlington. Los Angeles already has losing streaks this year of five, three, and two, two, and two, the last one of which it takes into Oakland tonight while the Rangers hang out with family and recharge.
Dave Cameron of FanGraphs, whose loyalties lie with the Mariners, refused to make too much of Seattle taking three of four from the Angels this weekend but did offer this comment: “If there is one takeaway from this Angels series, it’s that the Mariners are extremely lucky they got outbid for Josh Hamilton.”
Setting aside the implications of the 4.8 years and $110 million remaining on the contract the Angels gave Hamilton, whose body carries more mileage on it than its mathematical 31 years, or the 8.8 years and $225 million (not counting incentives) left on the deal they made with Albert Pujols, whose age is almost certainly greater than its listed 33, just look at the present.
Pujols is on a 3-for-33 skid (all singles) that has his season slash line at .244/.343/.367.
Hamilton’s season-long skid: .219/.267/.323, and a strikeout nearly every third time up.
It was a year ago yesterday that Los Angeles released Bobby Abreu and recalled Mike Trout, a move that should have been made earlier.
At this point on the schedule last year, the Angels were 9-15.
This year, with Trout from the start and with the Hamilton coup and with all those bullpen additions?
The Angels are 9-15.
Three teams have worse records, and two of them are Houston and Miami.
It was 61 years ago today that Ron Washington was born.
There’s been a good amount of Twitter-angst about Wash’s in-game management this season, especially lately, and that’s probably part (1) expectations of a fan base whose team has been close to the mountaintop twice and is off to the kind of start that has lots of us thinking about missed opportunities, part (2) legitimate gripe, and part (3) that’s-how-being-a-baseball-fan-go.
The drama is part of the deal. My Twitter timeline is full of Tim Tebow this morning, and you can give me the torment of bullpen management and over-bunting and leaving right-handed bats on the bench over that nonsense all day long.
Especially with the Rangers off, however, it’s a lock that the radio talk will be about 90 percent Cowboys’ draft today, with Tebow and changes in the Stars front office and the Rangers splitting the rest, to which I have two things to say:
1. I’m glad that Ben & Skin’s non-compete expires tonight. We need them back.
2. If you need a fascinating distraction and have six minutes, I’d encourage you to watch this video. It has nothing to do with baseball. Whether you agree with the message or not, it ought to make you think.
I’m usually not a fan of the Ranger off-day, but maybe we could all use a little bit of a recharge, not the least of whom are the players and maybe even the manager and his coaching staff. Nobody likes a losing streak, of any size, but today I’m okay with a Happy Birthday tip of the cap to Wash, an appreciation for 16-9 in spite of a bunch of key injuries and other frustrating talking points that the game always promises, and at least one eye tonight on the Angels and A’s entering the cage together while our team grabs a little rejuvenation on their own couches.