Every Monday, we look back at the weekend's series and then preview the next week's series (or, in this instance, next week's lack of a series).
Breathe. Relax. You've made it this far. This is a safe place. From now until Friday, you can avoid the non-stop Russian dash-cam car crash footage that is the 2014 Texas Rangers season.
You get a week off, Ranger fans. You've earned it.
The best use of this week? Recalibrate your expectations. Celebrate the losses. Imagine reloading the team with cheap, young talent. Imagine having a no. 1 overall draft pick. Imagine the draft signing bonus pool and international signing pool that comes with it.
The team gets a five-month head start on the 2015 season while Oakland, Los Anaheim, and Seattle tighten their focus down on the games ahead of them.
The Rangers kept that focus on the present for four years. You see where it led us, ultimately.
And the end came right on time; Like dreaming of Angels, and leaving without them
The bad news? The Rangers were just outscored 33-15. The good news? Roman Mendez and Matt West are acquitting themselves well, and Jake Smolinski is so hot right now. Jake Smolinski.
The only thing I'll say about Thursday's opener is it was a historically bad start for Colby Lewis and he deserves better.
Ok I lied. I'll also say I question the wisdom behind letting Roman Mendez throw 44 pitches two days after throwing 22. I understand Ron Washington's bullpen is nearly as overworked as a migrant construction worker working on a FIFA stadium for Qatar, but Mendez's minor league career can be defined as a fragile brilliance. Mendez throwing 91 pitches over 5 days is worrisome; especially worrisome since as a new guy, he's more likely to say “Sure yeah I can go, I feel great,” instead of “I'm really kind of a one-inning guy right now?”
Chris Gimenez, though, let's let that guy pitch some more. I'm a literal actual sucker for position players pitching and not being Jose Canseco-bad at it.
On Friday, Nick Tepesch made a quality start. It probably deserved a standing ovation. Unfortunately, Garret Richards was on the mound for the Angels, and he met Tepesch's 6 IP / 3 ER performance with seven innings of shutout ball.
In Saturday's game, starter Miles Mikolas was gifted with a two-run lead in the third after Roogie Odor and Shin-Soo Choo each drove in a run in the bottom of the second. Mikolas held that lead into the sixth but then things exploded and he left with five runs across (four earned). Mikolas is an interesting guy and he might be something of an innings sponge at the big league level at some point; that point isn't exactly right now though. Mikolas' ERA is 10.05, which is about double the point where you start thinking it's bad.
Scott Baker had been something of a revelation for the Rangers; while his contributions hadn't been great, he was able to save the bullpen several times and keep guys like Chris Gimenez off the mound. On Sunday, he allowed 10 runners while getting 12 outs. The bullpen allowed five runs over the five innings Baker didn't give them. But let's not talk about that horror show; let's talk about the horrorshow Joey Gallo inflicted on the International Futures Team; specifically, the 419 foot home run Gallo hit off of Astros prospect Michael Feliz. The idea of Gallo up in September has gone from insane at the beginning of the year to almost a foregone conclusion. That's partially due to the development Gallo has shown this year, and partially due to the lack of development the big league club has shown.
Fun fact: a crawl during the Futures Game called Gallo's power a 75. It is not an 85. His raw power was probably an 80 as a high school junior. If that's not 80, what is? And can we harness it to power our society?
Then again with the way Jake Smolinski is hitting, maybe a late season renaissance is in order for the team and ahahahahaha I can't even type that without laughing and crying a tiny bit.
You'll be there, when everyone is sane; do do do, the carnival's closed down
The Rangers have five days off punctuated only by Yu Darvish and Adrian Beltre participating in All-Star festivities in Minnesota. This is Derek Jeter's last All-Star game, so you might want to check it out because I doubt anyone's going to point that out or talk about that Derek Jeter's career has quietly been pretty good.
Former Rangers Nelson Cruz, Koji Uehara, and Ian Kinsler will also be there to entertain and or annoy you with their happiness and success and teams that don't have a revolving door of minor league grinders playing every night.
Remember also the winner of the All-Star Game hosts the World Series because Bud Selig is literally a monster made out of terrible ideas and hatred for fun and common sense.
See you in the second half!
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.