Every Monday, we look back at the weekend's series and then preview the next week's series.
The good news? Roman Mendez.
The only other silver lining? The team is still in the pole position for the #1 overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft.
Other than that, I don't have much good for you.
Two out of three ain't bad, but one out of three is the best we can realistically hope for, given the situation
Friday's game saw Jerome Williams become the Rangers' record setting 31st pitcher of the season. I had to double check, but that includes relievers, because it sure seems like 31 guys have started games for the Rangers this year. It really doesn't seem that impressive- if you give Joe Saunders AND Jerome Williams starts in 2014, you would think you'd ran through a hundred-plus pitchers, not 31.
Anyway, because 2014 is the weirdest season I've ever seen, Jerome Williams pitched really well, going six inning and allowing only five baserunners on four singles, a double, and no walks against four strikeouts. Roman Mendez allowed one single, raising his WHIP to 0.80. Neftali Feliz earned the save allowing one hit and one walk, and earning the most tepid praise any player has ever received from Ron Washington. Ron basically said, 'We'll see, he might strike somebody out eventually, or maybe not since his arm and general constitution have been made of al dente spaghetti since Game Six.'
He didn't literally say that. He actually said, 'He won't be like normal closers and be able to punch people out...But as long as he gets outs, that's all that matters.'' The thing is, Ron is normally ebullient with his praise towards players. He had wonderful things to say about Mike Young when Mike Young was the worst everyday player in baseball. Extremely mild praise from Ron Washington sounds like excoriation form anyone else.
Feliz has to be looking over his shoulder at Mendez and the recently acquired Corey Kneble. That's not good for Feliz, but it would be great if either of those young guys established himself in that role before the close of this bunk year; there's still a flicker of hope that Feliz reignites, but it's not looking promising.
On Saturday, Nick Tepesch started for the Rangers and Sonny Gray started for the A's and the outcome was fairly predictable. Nate Adcock made his first appearance in the majors since 2012; while he allowed two homers, he struck out three and kept the A's off the bases other than the homers.
The Rangers scored a lone run on a J.P. Arencibia single.
On Sunday, Miles Mikolas failed to build on his great start against the Yankees previously. That might have something to do with the fact that the A's are much, much, much, much better than the Yankees, or it might have to do with the fact that everyone except the Yankees has beat up Mikolas.
The Rangers scored runs on a two-run Adam Rosales homer and a solo shot from Adrian Beltre. Even when this team scores runs, it's sad to think about. To cheer erveyone up, let's think about the fact that Joey Gallo still leads the Carolina League in homers despite having been promoted out of the league seven weeks ago. Or how about the fact that Joey Gallo is third in the Texas League in home runs despite playing there for only seven weeks? Joey Gallo is The Mountain That Swings, and he he could possibly lead two leagues in homers in one season.
Projections have the Rangers at 0.00 percent chance of making the playoffs. They project the team finishing at 67-95, despite a projected .456 winning rate the rest of the way. So there are brighter days ahead I guess?
When the Yanks... come marchin' in
The Yankees are coming back for a three-game set in Arlington, acting as a kind of Ghost of Christmas Future to remind the Rangers that youth is really, really important in baseball and finding good young baseball players needs to happen or otherwise you end up with Mark Teixera, Bryan Roberts, Derek Jeter, and a rented Chase Headley as your infield.
In Monday's opener, Yu Darvish matches up against David Phelps, in a rematch of the Rain Game from last week. Phelps was granted the win in the truncated game, allowing only one run on five hits. Expect an unhappy Yu Darvish.
On Tuesday, Brandon McCarthy will face Nick Martinez. Since June 27, McCarthy is 4-0 with a 1.72 ERA in starts against the Pirates, Indians, Reds, and Rangers. Maybe returning to Arlington will bring back bad memories? Maybe seeing McCarthy a second time in a week's span will result in some kind of reverse red scare?
The series mercifully wraps up on Wednesday with Hiroki Kuroda and Colby Lewis. Kuroda was a guy I wanted the Rangers to sign for years, but he kept going to New York on cheap(ish) one year deals, and performing very well (back to back years with 200-plus innings, 1.16 WHIPs, and .249 BAAs- which, those rates aren't averaged, that's the actual numbers). This year, though, age has started to catch up to Kuroda- he's given up a 1.20 WHIP and a .257 BAA. At that rate, he'll be worse than league average by 2021 or 2022.
As a final note, please let's all remember to be vigilant on Hug Watch 2014. As we all know, the first thing players do, often, upon being notified of a trade is begin hugging the (now) former teammates in the dugout. Alex Rios and Neal Cotts remain on the critical Hug Watch list, while there's a Hug Watch warning on Colby Lewis, Adrian Beltre, and Elvis Andrus (although those are very precautionary and not likely to result in actual departure hugs).
This is normally the space reserved for telling you to go follow Joseph Ursery on twitter. We're still going to do that (go follow @thejoeursery on twitter please) but we're also going to donate this space to the Give Guilder Rodriguez a Cup of Coffee 2014 movement. Guilder's an 8 year minor league vet who's been with the RoughRiders for most of the last five years. He's 31 years old, and he deserves to get some time on a Major League field this September. Guilder Rodriguez: Because Why The Heck Not?