WHO: The Texas Rangers
WHAT: Were officially eliminated from playoff contention
WHEN: Tuesday, September 26th
WHERE: Globe Life Park
WHY: They lost too many games, including tonight’s 14-3 clobbering by the Astros
HOW: The big-picture how is for another article. But tonight? The how was that they performed poorly at nearly every aspect of the game.
Pitching? Cole Hamels gave up four runs in the first inning and only made it as far as the fourth inning before a cavalcade of Rangers relievers proceeded to also fall prey to the Houston bats.
Defense? Carlos Gomez heaved a ball from the center field wall over Adrian Beltre’s head at third base, turning a triple into a little league home run.
Baserunning? Elvis Andrus was caught stealing without a pitch being thrown. (to be honest, I’m nitpicking a little so as to include baserunning. It happens).
Hitting? Texas got a run in the first inning when Delino DeShields reached base on an error and later scored on an Elvis Andrus single. DeShields then hit an inside-the-park home run in the sixth inning. But the team combined for a total of 3 runs on 7 hits. Two of the runs and four of the hits came after Houston's 14th run had already scored. (The third run was a Drew Robinson home run in the ninth)
But the truth is that it wouldn’t have mattered if the Rangers had won this game by 20 runs. Just before the first pitch of the bottom of the seventh inning, the Twins completed their 8-6 win over Cleveland and eliminated Texas from playoff contention. I'll leave it up to the reader if that makes it worse, or on some petty level makes it better that it was not an Astros win that officially sealed the Rangers' fate.
It is just the second time since the beginning of the 2010 season that the Rangers’ last game will not be an elimination game. Soon, there will be a full autopsy. Soon, we will get more glimpses at the Willie Calhouns and Drew Robinsons and Brett Nicholases and Yohander Mendezes to allow them some precious big-league experience before the season runs out of games, the summer runs out of baseball, and the year runs out of pure white lines and perfect green blades.
Five more games, and Rangers baseball goes into hibernation. There will be champagne and more champagne and goggle in other cities, and in some as-of-yet unknown locale, there will be a parade and speeches and then we will begin the cycle again, with departures and arrivals and winter meetings and trades and new hopes and pitchers and catchers.
But that's another story for another time.