Profar writes the night’s happy ending

Posted Thursday, Sep. 26, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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lebreton The tale of Jurickson Profar’s rookie season with the Texas Rangers isn’t a simple one.

But that doesn’t mean it can’t write a happy ending.

On a night that seemed to cloak the ballpark with frustrations, from the out-of-town scoreboard to a ghastly four-error second inning to Matt Garza’s underwhelming pitching, Profar provided the season-saving ending with a pinch-hit walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth.

With the Indians and Rays both winning, the Rangers remained one game behind in the wild-card race with a 6-5 victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Profar, 20 years young, had had only one hit in the past two weeks and only one extra-base hit for the entire month.

An extended slump had dropped his batting average to .232 and sent him to the bench. He has started only two of the Rangers’ last 17 games.

Overmatched, the glass-half-empty guys have called Profar’s major league debut. The argument that he might have been better served by a full season in Triple-A is not without its merits.

But it’s complicated. Profar has 323 major league plate appearances this season — a baptism by fire that he shouldn’t have to undergo again.

With a winter-league stint and a full spring training as a major leaguer, Profar should be a much more confident 21-year-old at the start of next season.

He is palpably young, and all you have to do is look at his teenage-sized body to see that. The Angels’ Mike Trout and Nationals’ Bryce Harper are veritable grown-up big leaguers with kids’ birth certificates.

Profar likely will never be a Trout or a Harper. But he will grow and undoubtedly get stronger, and his future is yet to be written.

Thursday’s finish was just another promising chapter.

On this night, for one night, Profar helped to save the Rangers’ season, coming through after other teammates had been struggling and falling short all night.

Fittingly, Profar’s ninth-inning dramatics came against the Angels. It marked the fourth time in four games that the Rangers have beaten the Angels in walk-off fashion in Arlington.

It also proves once again that C.J. Wilson doesn’t get it.

It’s not the first time, of course, that the California lefty has misread the oolong tea leaves.

But give it to C.J. — when asked, he has seldom refrained from giving his take on things that are apparently personal to him. Like money. And flying planes. And driving race cars.

And, it seems, like his old team, the Rangers.

When asked to assess the run-starved Rangers the other day, Wilson, who pitches tonight for Angels of Anaheim, instead told, “They’re trying to pin it on [Nelson] Cruz not being there, but they’re scoring plenty of runs.

“I think the pitching has been the big question mark for them, because a lot of the relievers they had got used up so much the first half of the year and some of those dudes might be breaking down.”

Maybe C.J. has that DirecTV Extra Innings package and watches all the Rangers games. Or maybe it’s just that pesky Orange County marine layer that has fogged up his view.

Because he’s got it wrong. It wasn’t a tired, “breaking down” bullpen that put the Rangers into their current wild-card predicament. It has definitely been the hitting, or timely lack thereof.

Leave it to the youngest kid on the roster to turn that tide Thursday night.

Jurickson Profar’s complicated season may yet have a happy ending.

Gil LeBreton, 817-390-7697 Twitter: @gilebreton

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