On one hand, yes. This has been excruciating baseball to watch. It has been just a month of almost unadulterated wreckage. The Rangers are already 8 games out of first place, and the offense can’t stop striking out. The bullpen has coughed up leads in a broad spectrum of ways, or at least as broad as you can get with only walks-hits-home runs-errors as potential failure factors (THAT I CAN THINK OF RIGHT NOW; we might invent new ones before this season is over).
But hey, the Stars and Mavericks missed the playoffs and Cowboys training camp doesn’t start for a WHILE, so settle in: it’s either ride this ride until it [careens fully off the tracks / makes a miraculous recovery] or find some real-life non-sports stuff to care about this summer.
Tonight it was Nick Martinez taking his turn in the punishment carousel that is the Rangers’ rotation during this blasted series with the division rival Astros. Martinez had been impressive in his first two starts this year, but Houston pounced early, scoring four runs in the second inning. Two home runs, three other hits, a walk and an error, all on Martinez. Hey, that’s a complete set.
Texas got their only run in the fifth inning. Nomar Mazara led off with a single up the middle. Mike Napoli followed with a bloop single, and after a Shin-Soo Choo strikeout, Ryan Rua drove home Mazara with a single. There were now runners on first and third with one out. Delino DeShields stepped to the plate and tried to at least get the Rangers’ second sac fly of the season to make it 4-2. (Gallo had a sac fly opportunity in the previous inning, but struck out)
But DeShields’ flyball wasn’t deep enough. We know this not because everyone took inventory of the situation (there’s no such thing as non-shallow left field in Houston, and Mike Napoli is not particularly speedy) but because Napoli tagged up and was thrown out at home to end the inning.
Perhaps you’re okay with the send. Aoki isn’t exactly Leonys Martin out there, and let’s face it: runs have been at a premium this season. Maybe you’re not okay with the send. Rougned Odor had already walked and doubled, and appeared to be seeing Astros’ starter Charlie Morton well. There’s a lot you could second-guess, but what happened was: Napoli was out.
Odor led off the following inning with a single.
After that, the Astros blew the doors off the game. In the sixth, we saw the FailCycle again: walk (Brian McCann) home run (who else: Marwin Gonzalez) error (Joey Gallo) and hit (RBI double for Springer). And ah yes, there is one I forgot (perhaps because I haven’t seen it much this season: the sacrifice fly (Josh Reddick). It was 8-1.
It would later become 10-1 when Reddick homered in the 8th inning.
It’s bad, but you knew that. It stings to lose to the Astros (maybe you didn’t know that; it hasn’t happened much in recent years).
In 2015 on this date, the Rangers were 8-16. After tonight’s game, they are 11-17. Not all hope is lost. But Texas trails the Astros by 8 games now. The season is not Over. It’s not even particularly close to Over. But from where the Rangers stand, we can certainly see the lights of Over glowing ever brighter in the sky on the horizon.