Ok, it’s time to worry. No seriously, it’s time to worry. A two game lead doesn’t sound very impressive. But the two game lead that has now opened up between the Rangers and the A’s seems bigger than just two games. On paper, it's behind only St. Louis and Pittsburg in the NL Central for tightest margin in a division. But with the Rangers losing 1-0 to the Pirates last night, you would have every right to wonder if this is the end of the line for this season.
I don’t think it necessarily is but I’d also like to take this opportunity to remind you that most people wrote this season off entirely were Nelson Cruz to be suspended. The Rangers might even be a little more in the hunt than we had assumed they would be, post-suspension.
But then there’s Yu Darvish. It’s hard to imagine anyone as simultaneously polarizing, frustrating, mesmerizing and confusing as Yu Darvish is in the world of sports today. We’ve already brought you the point/counterpoint on the “Is Yu Darvish really an ace?” debate. But click over here for a little refresher.
Here’s a stat that’s been kicked around a lot in the past 24 hours. The Rangers have only had 16 1-0 games in the Ballpark’s 20 years of existence. Last night’s loss to the Pirates was Darvish’s third 1-0 loss this season, his second at the Ballpark this season. Last night’s game also provided Darvish with another grim stat. The Pirates became the first National League team to hand Darvish a defeat. In a pitcher’s battle, did you ever really expect to see Pittsburgh’s thoroughly middle of the road Gerrit Cole to not only outlast Darvish (who left the game in the seventh inning with leg cramps) but get the win? Don’t answer that.
Over the past few years, the Rangers have had the advantage of having the Cowboys take some of the media heat off of them during the final push to the playoffs. Metroplex sports fans who are either eternal optimists or horrible masochists believe that this will be the year the Cowboys don’t crush all their hopes and dreams all over again. Meanwhile the Rangers grind out enough wins to secure some post-season action or at least a shot at the play-in game.
Maybe that’s what the Rangers need right now. Quick, everybody avert your eyes and look over here at the Cowboys. They beat the Giants! 1-0. #1 in the NFC East. Maybe that’s what the Rangers need us to do for them to allow them time to regroup and figure out how they’re going to get this lurching, choking beast past September.
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