Category: Texas Rangers (Page 1 of 26)

Magic Numbers

The Rangers’ magic number is “4” after going back-to-back-to-back in the 6th inning in Anaheim last night and beating the Halos 5-1. Jon Gray gave Texas a solid start, the Rangers had baserunners in every inning but one, and Garcia, Garver, and Lowe went deep to hang on to the 2-1/2 game lead over the Astros. Three home runs in a row and four in a span of six at-bats. They’ve hit at least four homers in a game eleven times this year, three times in the past week. The Rangers lead the AL in home runs at 227. And with six games to play, Texas’ magic number is four to winning their first division title in seven years.

I love the drama of this last week of the season with so much on the line — every pitch, every at-bat, every shift and catch and throw, every scoreboard crawl at the bottom of the screen updating us on the Astros. I don’t like that this is all happening on the West Coast. These late starts and long nights are going to catch up with me before the week’s over.


My magic number for the Cowboys now is “6.” I’ve predicted a 10-7 season for Dallas this year and I’ve got a couple of dinners with a couple of good friends riding on it. I think I’m in good shape. I’ve done the math.

The Cowboys have ten tough games left on their schedule: home games against the Rams, Seattle, Philly, and the Lions; and road games at San Francisco, the Chargers, Philly, Buffalo, Miami, and Washington. Let’s say they split those ten games. Can you find six wins in those ten games? No way. That’s five losses, giving me a total of six.

That means Dallas only has to lose one of these remaining “easier” games: at home against the Patriots, Washington, or New York; or on the road at Carolina. That gets me to seven.

Jerry Wayne is blaming Sunday’s loss in Arizona on missing three starting offensive linemen  due to injury. Well, the offense didn’t give up 222 yards rushing. Dak is blaming the media. Funny, I didn’t see David Moore or Tim Cowlishaw or any ESPN or FOX commentators suiting up for the Cards. That’s absurd. To his credit, McCarthy is shouldering some of the blame for his own play-calling inside the red zone. I would add that’s it not just inside the opponents’ 20-yard line; it’s all over the field from the start of the game until the finish. It’s the whole offensive philosophy. The Cowboys went to this dink and dunk “Texas Coast” offense because they don’t trust Dak. And it’s hard to come from behind by dinking and dunking down the field. Dak can’t throw deep, the defense knows it, and they’re already loading up. Let the Cowboys get the short stuff, keep everything in front of us; they can’t go ten or eleven plays down the field without shooting themselves in the foot with penalties and mistakes.

This gets worse for Dallas, not better. And it’s so delicious.




The Texas Rangers’ magic number is “5” for clinching the division championship in the American League West. Over the weekend, the Rangers completed a three-game sweep of the Mariners while the Astros were inexplicably being swept by the 102-loss Royals, giving Texas a 2-1/2 game lead in the division with seven games left in the regular season. The Rangers are healthy again, using the same batting order in four straight games for the first time this year. They’ve won five in a row after losing the previous four in a row. Evan Carter is providing a tremendous spark, the starters are gutting through some tough outings, and Bruce Bochy is proving to be the bullpen whisperer. It seems like the Rangers are getting hot at exactly the right time. Everything has changed.

The Dallas Cowboys shocked all the people who don’t pay attention by laying a massive egg against the previously-winless Cards in Arizona. And it was the same three culprits it always is. One, Jerry Wayne. How else do you explain the lackluster effort on defense and all those penalties? The Cowboys gave up 222 rushing yards, 7.4 yards per carry, allowed a score on each of Arizona’s first half possessions, and committed ten penalties in the first half, the most by any team in a half in twelve years. The Cardinals had zero turnovers for the game and punted twice. Evidently, Dallas thought they could just show up and the Cardinals would lay down. Classic Jerry trickle down effect. Two, McCarthy. So, he’s calling all the plays now. The Cowboys got inside the Arizona ten-yard line on all four of their second half possessions and came away with a grand total of two field goals. McCarthy went for it and failed on fourth and four, knowing that points were terribly hard to come by. Dallas is now 6-15 on red zone possessions through three games. And, three, Dak. Nice end zone interception late in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys QB throws high to open receivers and throws into triple coverage when the game gets tight. Dallas lost to a backup quarterback and a winless team while reportedly having the most talented roster they’ve had in decades. Nothing has changed.



Playoffs Start Today

For the first time since divisional play began in 1969, a MLB division is heading into the regular season’s final ten games with only half a game separating three teams. Houston is in first place in the AL West and the Rangers and Mariners are both a half game behind. By fluke of the schedule, Texas plays seven of its last ten against Seattle. Head to head. That means the playoffs start today.

It’s been a wild ride, for sure, to get to this point: meaningful games in September. An incredibly unforeseen blazing hot start, a just as unbelievable free-fall out of the playoff picture, and wildly inconsistent sputtering ever since. Bullpen blowups and season-ending injuries. Five Cy Young awards on the DL. That awful three-game set against Houston. Yet, here we are: meaningful games in September.

Not only does just a half-game separate the Rangers, Astros, and Mariners in the division,  but Toronto leads the Rangers and M’s by a half-game in the Wild Card race. Four teams competing for three postseason spots in the next ten days. The Rangers control their own destiny here, especially with seven of their games against Seattle.

If Texas overtakes Houston and wins the AL West — the Astros own the tie-breaker over the Rangers, so Texas would have to finish ahead of Houston — the Rangers would earn a first round bye and host a division series. If they sneak in via the Wild Card route, they would likely play the Twins in a best two-out-of-three series, with all three games in Minnesota.

Yes, this is much more than any of us bargained for when the season began. Yes, for the first time in months, Texas has its All-Star lineup intact and healthy and playing every day. Plus rookie sensation Evan Carter. Yes, the Rangers have Bruce Bochy and all his playoff experience and success at the helm. But it feels like fool’s gold.

The pitching just isn’t there.

Regardless, autumn officially begins tomorrow and the Rangers are still very much in the thick of a division race. If they can take four or five of these final seven games against Seattle, they will likely be in the playoffs for the first time since 2016. And that’s fun no matter how short lived it might be.

The playoffs start tonight.

Let’s Go Rangers!
Clap! Clap! Clap! Clap! Clap!


Scherzer Out

Today’s MRI revealed a tear in a muscle in Max Scherzer’s throwing shoulder. The Rangers’ ace is done for the remaining three weeks of the regular season and “unlikely” to pitch any playoff games should the team qualify.


Brandon Brunson texted me a few minutes ago, asking if we could start a support group tonight at church. I told him we’re going to have a lament service.

“Why, O Lord, do you just stand there and watch? Do something God! Nabat!” (RSV – Revised Stanglin Version)

Gut Punch

Over the years, I have watched a lot of bad Rangers baseball at three different Arlington parks. I’ve seen it all. I’ve experienced some awful stuff. But nothing like what Whitney and I endured against the Astros Monday and Tuesday. The soul-crushing sweep was overwhelming. Houston was up 9-0 Tuesday before the Rangers could get through their order one time. Including last night’s 12-3 drubbing in which the pitching matchup for the ages was relegated to overrated status by Yordan Alvarez in the first inning, Houston hit 16 homers and scored 39 runs in the three games.

The worst part of being there in the stadium is that by the final couple of innings, there are 20,000 Astros fans in the building and 43 Rangers fans. It’s terrible. At the very least, Whitney and I can say we were there in person when the super fun, out-of-nowhere, exciting 2023 season came to an end. It’s over. You can see it. You can feel it. Body language on and off the field. The pressure. The frustration. The deer in the headlights look. This team is cooked. And so is the season.

Texas has lost 15 of their last 19 games to fall from first to third in the AL West and currently out of the playoff picture altogether. Adolis Garcia injured his knee last night leaping unsuccessfully for another Houston homer. Mad Max only lasted three innings last night, giving up seven runs. Nathan Eovaldi is very much a question mark and there are no guarantees Josh Jung will return any time soon. And that bullpen is unsalvagable. I think it’s over.

Otherwise, it was a great getaway for the Whitster and me. After Monday’s game, we ate dinner with our dear friends Chris and Liz Moore at Pappasito’s. On Tuesday we spent some time with Carley and Collin at their new house and ate lunch together at Underdog’s on the new Flower Mound river walk. And before Tuesday’s game, we hooked up with good ol’ Jim Gardner for some excellent brisket tacos at Texas Live! These are some of our best friends and most influential people in our lives. And it was a joy to hang out together again.








The baseball part of the trip didn’t go so well. It was historic in its gore.

The Rangers do play eleven of their final 20 games against the teams directly ahead of them in the wildcard standings. So, yes, they are playing meaningful baseball in September which, back in April, we would have taken in a heartbeat. Three games back in the division and half a game back in the wild card race? In September? Absolutely! Now, because of the team’s unforeseen success, the expectations have changed. This is disappointing. A gut punch. On paper, it’s still very much within their grasp. But I think they’ve run out of steam. I think it’s over.



Disaster in Arlington

A bad day at the ballpark is still better than a good day just about anywhere else. And yesterday was a very bad day at the ballpark.

The Texas Rangers bullpen is destroying the most promising season in a decade. It’s a disaster and it’s impacting the whole team and threatening to knock us completely out of the playoff picture. Yesterday’s demoralizing loss to Houston will probably be remembered as the game that ended the Rangers 2023 chances.

Whitney and I are taking two days to see a couple of games in this pivotal Rangers-Astros series. And yesterday started out good enough. Andrew Heaney began the first with a 1-2-3 inning. Semien worked a leadoff walk to start the Rangers’ first  and Seager followed by hitting the first pitch he saw for a two-run homer. Garver added an RBI single to make it 3-0. Things went back and forth. It was tied 5-5 going to the seventh inning. And that’s when the bullpen imploded. Again. By the time we got to the stretch, Texas was down 11-5 and the game was over.

The worst part about it was that by the 8th and 9th innings, there were 20,000 Astros fans in the stadium and 43 Rangers fans. It was brutal.

Six weeks ago, the Rangers were uncatchable in the AL West. Now they’ve lost 12 of their past 16 games, the bullpen has blown late leads in ten of those losses, they’re in third place, and just a half-game up on the Blue Jays for the final wild card spot. It’s likely now this team doesn’t even make the playoffs after spending 139 of the first 140 days of the season in first place.

The bullpen is killing this team. Since no amount of runs scored are enough, the offense is pressing instead of just taking what the game gives them. Too much pressure. The starters and defense are just as stressed, afraid to do anything the least bit risky and playing tight. It’s a recipe for failure and that’s exactly what’s happening.

Of course, the Rangers are playing meaningful baseball games in September. They’re losing those games, but they are meaningful games with a lot at stake, and nobody thought this was possible back in April. This team has lost 90+ games in each of the past three seasons. So, in one sense, we’re enjoying a division race down the stretch for the first time since 2014 — that’s fun. But, what a disappointment. There was so much energy in that sold out barn yesterday. For six innings there was tension with every pitch, every swing, every throw. It felt like a playoff game. Rangers and Astros fans side by side, giving each other a hard time, cheering for their team, hanging on every pitch. And then it blew up.

Whit and I are back at it tonight. And we keep reminding each other that a bad day at the ballpark is still better than a good day just about anywhere else.



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