Timing is important. I think that holds true in all areas of life, but I’m not a life expert or anything, so you should internalize that statement and determine if you believe it to be true also. I think you’ll find that it is. For example, in your professional career, you’ll have some low moments where you didn’t fulfill your utmost potential, or you were embarrassed, or perhaps you just screwed up. When you have those moments, you probably want them to happen when no one is looking, or it doesn’t have a long-term impact on your career. No one wants to be defined by their lowest moments.
The Texas Rangers didn’t fulfill their utmost potential, got embarrassed, and screwed up all at the same time on Tuesday night. The Chicago White Sox spanked them around the ballpark on the way to a 19-2 decision. This was the worst loss of the season for the Rangers in terms of margin of defeat, topping previous bests (worsts?) of 11-run and 13-run losses. Each of those three losses were each other’s equal in terms of embarrassment, and once you reach a 10-run loss each additional run is only marginal degrees of separation.
Nothing went right for the Rangers in the windy city. Starter Roy Oswalt gave up three home runs in just the first inning, and nearly saw two more fly out of the park before he recorded a third out. In total, he gave up 13 hits (for the second consecutive start) in 4.2 innings. There is a trend developing with Oswalt in which opposing teams are too easily able to hit him. Opponents now have a .422 batting average against Oswalt. You can point to a .500 BABIP and say that he has been extremely unlucky and that the tide will turn for him, but you also have to use your eyes to support that claim. Oswalt is not locating any of his pitches well, is not establishing his fastball early in the count, and so too often hitters are able to sit on a pitch down the middle of the plate and they’re not missing it.
Mercifully for the Rangers, the bullpen wasn’t completely decimated by this blowout. Yoshinori Tateyama and Justin Grimm were good soldiers and took one on the chin for the rest of the team, giving up a combined 8 runs in 3.1 innings. To each of the three pitcher’s credit, they pressed on longer than they would have under normal circumstances, despite the fact that they were nearly completely ineffective the entire night.
With Chris Sale on the mound, the White Sox wasted 16 too many runs, as the Rangers were powerless against the skinny left-handed reliever-turned-starter for Chicago. This game was over before the 2nd inning started. It did, however, create a good opportunity to clear some space on the DVR, or go watch a fireworks show on July 4th Eve (not a real thing). I wouldn’t wish watching the entire two hours and 58 minutes of this one on any baseball fan.
The good news for Texas is that on this night, just like the other two nights in which they lost by double digits, the Los Angeles Angels lost as well. Even though the Rangers were disappointing, embarrassing, and overall screw-ups for a night, their 1st place lead in the AL West is no more diminutive than it was to start the night. The Rangers have lost by 17, 13, and 11 this year. On those nights, the Angels lost by 4, 1, and 2, respectively. As many like to say, a slam dunk is still worth just two points.
It’s not the middle of a pennant race in September, or a playoff series October. The division lead is five games. The second place Angels lost on the same night. There is another game to be played tomorrow. No national audience was tuned in to see the shellacking. Given all of the possible variables, this blowout couldn’t have occurred on a better night, just like the previous two blowouts the Rangers have suffered this season. The Rangers didn’t do much of anything right on Tuesday night, but in hindsight, their timing was impeccable.
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