Every Monday, we look back at the weekend's series and then preview the next week's series.
How long has it been since a DFW team had a truly lost season? The Mavs haven't had a lost season since Dirk was a teenager, the Stars have been competing for a playoff spot even during the years it was obvious they were either in need of a rebuild, or elbow deep in rebuilding. Say what you will about the Cowboys, but 2010 has been the only season in the last ten years that they weren't still in it for at least an 8-8 finish.
More to the point, the Rangers last lost season was in 2008. Since then, it's been nothing but 90-win seasons. For a 90-win season to materialize out of the aether in Arlington this year, the team would have to go 52-35 over the last 87 games of 2014. The team's Pythagorean win-loss record (an estimate of a team's winning percentage given their runs scored and runs allowed) of 33-42 says they're actually a little lucky to be 35-40 right now. This is who they are, it's not an aberration. Things would be different with Profar, Fielder, Soto, Kouzmanoff, Harrison, Holland, Perez, Scheppers, Ogando, and Feliz healthy and productive, but they're not.
Listen, we can either spend the next three-plus months mourning, or we can get our bags packed up for 2015 and beyond and maybe have some fun without the burden of expectations. Embrace the losses now, because they (hopefully) mean a lot less losses in the future.
There are angels / in your angels / Down we go a-drownin'
This weekend's series kind of saw a little bit of everything. Nick Martinez pitched like Yu Darvish, Yu Darvish pitched like Nick Martinez, Joe Saunders pitched exactly like Joe Saunders, and lots and lots of ejections.
Friday's game say Joe Saunders get 14 outs and allow 13 men to reach base. Seven of those men would score, although the vagaries of errors meant that only four count as Earned. Does the distinction really matter when you're allowing half of all batters to reach base?
Michael Choice homered. That was pretty neat.
On Saturday, Nick Martinez took a perfect game to the sixth inning, but lost the perfect game and the no-hitter on the first batter as Hank Conger doubled off him. Two groundouts later, he lost the shutout, as Conger came around to score. Martinez would allow a second run on a C.J. Cron home run (you might get confused about 'Was that the game Cron homered in?,’ because Cron homered in each game of the series, Kafkaesquely) but that would be all the damage done to him, pitching seven innings with only three hits allowed against three strikeouts and a walk. Sometimes duct tape surprises you.
Shin-Shoo Choo provided both of the runs for Texas, scoring Leonys Martin on a groundout in the first and homering in the top of the ninth, tying the game and sending it to extras. It was a nice momentum surge, and for once we all thought 'Maybe something nice will happen,’ but then Louis CK's line about 'Why would anything nice ever happen?' came to mind and the team left Neal Cotts in for six outs, and once he allowed Josh Hamilton to reach on an infield single, Jason Frasor came in, allowed a double to Howie Kendrick, and the game was over, notably with Texas' best reliever sitting on the bench.
One day, a manager will realize that traditional usage and deployment of closers is less than optimal. Unfortunately, that manager will probably be fired within two weeks of this discovery.
On Sunday, things started out bad, as Yu Darvish allowed a walk to Kole Calhoun to start the game. Calhoun then scored after a clear tag out was reversed due to application of Rule 7.13. I would complain, but replay is good and Rule 7.13 is good, and the Rangers were bad, so it didn't really matter. Darvish would go on to allow home runs to Cron and Calhoun in the fourth inning, as well as a David Freese double. All told, Darvish gave the team six innings, with four runs against, allowing five hits and four walks against nine strikeouts.
It wasn't a great performance, at all, but let's not forget we all have reasons to cheer against Darvish winning the Cy Young.
And he lived that way forever / and he lived that way beside them / separate from the other Tigers / he did not know another Tiger
After a sure-to-be-well-received day off Monday, the team starts a three-game set with the Tigers on Tuesday. Like most (say, 80percent) of the Rangers' games, the team doesn't see favorable pitching match-ups.
On Tuesday, Colby Lewis will match up against Drew Smyly. For his career, Smyly has allowed a .538 OPS against lefties. He's allowed lefties 94 total bases in 335 plate appearances against. Might be a good time for Choo to take a night off. Unfortunately, it's tough to see how Leonys Martin, Rougned Odor, and Brad Snyder all gets days off, as well.
Colby Lewis has pitched into he sixth inning in only one of his twelve starts this year, and has allowed 33 hits in his last twenty one innings pitched.
On Wednesday, the team matches Joe Saunders up against Anibal Sanchez. Sanchez backs up his 2.33 ERA with a 2.44 FIP. He's allowed only one home run in 69.2 IP this season.
Joe Saunders' twitter icon is a Seattle Mariners logo.
On Thursday's series finale, Nick Martinez matches up against Rick Porcello. It would be wonderful if Martinez could build on his appearance against LA/Anaheim. He's dangerously close to having the same amount of walks as strikeouts this year; 28 K, 25 BB. For a guy who should probably be getting consideration for a promotion to the Pacific Coast League right now, the overall results are pretty good, but the peripherals behind those results are scary.
Joseph Ursery can be found here and on twitter.com at @thejoeursery. His main interests include fatherhood, craft beer, facial hair, and twenty-year-old middle infielders with patience and power. Oh, and cover songs, too. He really likes cover songs. “No particular reason why,” he says, but WFAA feels like there's more to this story.