2012 excuses won’t fly for the Rangers this season

Posted Thursday, Sep. 05, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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galloway Thank you, Martin Perez. Way to pitch big-time.

Otherwise, the overall assessment of the Texas Rangers at the moment goes like this:

Even after a disturbing and spineless showing in Oakland this week, and even after Yu Darvish and Derek Holland just went deer-eyed under the bright lights of stretch-run September baseball, I’d advise overreaction caution.

Hold the panic. September has only just begun.

But just in case, the front office in Arlington does need a plan.

Don’t panic, but do plan.

Come up with a cover-your-butt excuse, and then plant it with certain local media members, and hope they spread your word.

It worked well last September, right?

So much has changed with the Rangers since last September, I’m not sure it even applies this time, but recorded history does tell us this franchise had such a monumental 2012 stretch-run gag, the eggheads dug through the record books for days in attempting to determine just how bad it was.

Butt-coverage for the front-office, however, fell nicely into place.

The media blame went to Ron Washington for “wearing out” his team. The blame also went to Michael Young because he was Michael Young and some members of the front office hated him.

In covering the Rangers since they arrived in 1972, I ranked it as the most asinine excuses in franchise history. Totally unacceptable.

But it worked. Man, did it ever work, thanks to some local media members spreading the front-office gospel.

Even Washington himself would finally say in the off-season he probably didn’t give his regulars enough rest. Knowing RonWash did not believe what he was saying, I asked him why he did it.

“There was so much finger-pointing, I needed to stop the finger-pointing,” he answered in spring training. “The manager needed to step up and take the blame.”

And Young? Well, conveniently forgotten was that Young turned around a bad season and, along with Adrian Beltre, had the best September of any hitter.

But that was then, and what we know now is the September excuse of 2012 does not even remotely apply.

Young is gone. He plays for the Dodgers.

And speaking of history, this season’s Rangers may be the most well-rested September team ever in baseball.

The schedule is one factor. Counting this week, the Rangers have had six consecutive Thursdays as open dates, and there’s one more to go next week. That’s unheard of in baseball.

And six weeks ago, the order came down from the front office to play rookie Jurickson Profar every day. Since then, the kid has moved from second, to short, to third on a regular basis, and then started the past four games at short because of the back injury to Elvis Andrus.

A starter at those positions was either resting or DHing.

For much of the past six weeks, Washington was also fielding a National League batting order. Eight hitters, and Profar as the pitcher at the plate.

But over the past week, when the Rangers have lost four of six, Profar has had the best string of at-bats on the team. (Well, him and Craig Gentry.) That’s both a great compliment to the kid, and a damning indictment of everyone else.

Last season, Profar was at the center of the “worn-out” lineup alibi, because Washington basically ignored him. The kid was viewed as a 19-year-old savior by some, including those in the front office.

This season, with Profar approaching 300 plate appearances, has ended the savior talk, but, I repeat, the kid is at least displaying signs of becoming a positive factor for September, which is more than can be said for Ian Kinsler, to name a name.

Leaving Oakland, the team theme was “Well, we’re still in first place,” as a three-game series opens in Anaheim on Friday night.

But, of course, that theme is flimsy. We all know how the schedule shook out in August for the Rangers. Real easy. And hard for the A’s.

The common theory was the Rangers would carry a three- or four-game division lead into the September stretch-run. That didn’t happen.

This month, of course, the schedule does a one-eighty. Easy for the A’s, challenging for the Rangers.

The Rangers have a homestand next week against front-running Pittsburgh, followed by Oakland coming to town over the weekend for the final head-to-head matchup. Then it’s on the road for four games in Tampa Bay and three in Kansas City, both teams being on the plus side of .500.

Also remember the Rangers haven’t won a series against a team outside the division since June. And have a losing record overall outside the division, with the Pirates, Rays and Royals still ahead.

Besides the Rangers, the A’s don’t play a team above .500 the rest of the season.

While it’s been a totally dismal start to September for the Rangers — losing two of three to awful Minnesota, then dropping two of three in Oakland — there is plenty of time for the turnaround.

Don’t panic, but do plan.

The front office needs a CYB plan, just in case.

The Michael Young/Ron Washington disgraceful excuse of last September won’t fly this time, even for those media members stupid enough to fall for it and spread it a year ago.

Randy Galloway can be heard 3-6 p.m. weekdays on Galloway & Co. on ESPN/103.3 FM. Randy Galloway, 817-390-7697 Twitter: @sportsdfw

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