Yu Darvish has gone from four swinging strikes in his first start to 11 in his next start to 19 yesterday, and from 57 percent of his pitches thrown for strikes to 63 percent to 66 percent, and while Darvish’s season may be as big a factor in the Rangers’ 2017 fate as anyone’s and upward trends are accordingly cool, I want to look backward for a minute.
Is it reasonable to expect that, when your ace has a 5–1 lead at home, in the third inning, that you should win that game?
Is it fair to assume that, when you’re down 4–2 in the ninth inning but double off the other team’s closer, and then double off the other team’s closer again (just a few feet short of clearing the fence) to cut the deficit to one, and still have nobody out, you could have won that game?
Is it realistic to believe that, when you’ve turned a 6–4 lead over to your closer in the ninth, that’s one you ought to bring home?
Is it even necessary to ask whether a 5–0 lead in the hands of your 1-A starter, taken into the seventh inning, and that stands at 5–2 going into the ninth when entrusted to your closer, should hold up?
Is it logical to conclude, when you’ve won both of your number four starter’s starts and you have a +9 run differential through nine games (the only positive run differential in the division) and you’re leading the American League in runs and in OPS and in slug and in homers, and your starting pitchers are one quality start short of the league lead, that things have gotten off to a good start?
I don’t mean it to be a negative when I say this team could easily be 8–1 (hat tip to Kendall Graveman), and that it should at least be 7–2.
I think it’s a positive.
Last year, based in part on that odd +4 run differential over 162 for a 95-win club, folks suggested Texas wasn’t as good as its record.
Right now I think it’s more than fair to believe the Rangers are better than their 4–5 record.
With 153 regular-season games left to prove it.
* * *
Because a whopping two of you asked, I was motivated to answer the question, and I share it with all of you: Saturday’s insane run-on sentence was the 13th that I’ve published in report form. I think.
Here are the first 12, if you want to take a look, though I question your own sanity if this is a rabbit hole you feel is worth wandering into:
* May 12, 2012: 108.
* May 22, 2012: Worst.
* September 2, 2012: Blah.
* March 10, 2013: Taillon’s and run-ons and Dutch.
* September 4, 2013: Lefty.
* December 6, 2013: A little bit about you for our files.
* May 1, 2014: Jesse’s whirl.
* May 28, 2014: More stuff.
* August 24, 2014: Sentence.
* October 24, 2015: World Series analysis.
* November 27, 2015: A sentence for a rainy day.
* March 23, 2016: 108-ish.
* * *
And I leave you with this, an idea that’s quite possibly more insane (possibly a misspelling of “awesome”) than one-sentence reports that cram in hundreds of words.
The Great Grubes, who used to belong to The Ticket and who now makes Frisco RoughRiders games and Dallas Stars games even better, demanded the opportunity to voiceover the Newberg Report, which to date has been available in email format, online, and in print — but never via audio presentation.
That has changed.
Don’t know if this will become a regular thing — feedback is welcome and will likely influence the life of this project — but here you go . . . the first two audio Newberg Reports, courtesy of Michael Gruber:
* April 8, 2017: The opposite of a siren song.
* April 12, 2017 (set to music!): Shaking. Shaken. Shaky. Shakeup?