Don’t tell my bosses this Rangers Reaction wasn’t posted until well after midnight. I have a good excuse. Or, at least an excuse. Depending on where you stand on the whole cats vs. dogs debate you might think the excuse is weak. But I’ll get to that Rangers’ season-high six-game win streak in a second.
One of our two cats, Fenway, likes to go out in the backyard from time to time. He’ll meow at the backdoor until I give in. My wife doesn’t like either of them to go outside. She’s afraid they’ll be attacked by a lion or hippopotamus. We have a fenced in backyard so the chances of either being in our backyard are slim.
Still, it makes her nervous. But I grew up with cats going in and out of the house. I think it’s good for their psyches to get out there and smell the grass, dirt and air. So I let Fenway, a 23-pound all black short hair outside around 8 pm. He’ll meow at the backdoor when he wants in. About 30 minutes later my wife asks if any cats are outside because she smelled a skunk. Before lying to her, I opened the backdoor to check on Fenway and he was there, ready to come in. He looked fine, if a little startled. Then the wave of stench hit me. SKUNK! I’m not talking that quaint far-away skunk smell. No, skunk smell up close has a deeper, more pungent odor. It was horrible. I quickly scooped him up, took him to the kitchen sink and started scrubbing him.
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We didn’t have any tomato juice, which is the recommended cure for a skunk-sprayed cat, but we did have diced tomatoes. Close enough. I rubbed diced tomatoes all over Fenway like we were making pico de gato (my wife’s joke). He was taking it pretty well. The smell wasn’t leaving, however, so we dried him off and I jetted to the new Kroger on Basswood in North Fort Worth. (Hooray for a close grocery store for times likes these!). By now I realized that while carrying Fenway to the sink, I got skunk stank on me. I’ve smelled bad a few times in my life (despite my shocking lack of physical activity) but this was another level of nastiness. A couple in Kroger even did a double-take when I hurried past them with my tomato juice. Whatever. I’ve smelled worse at weddings.
So I got back and we gave Fenway a second bath. This time a round of dish detergent followed by tomato juice. The smell started to dissipate just as Fenway started getting restless. We dried him off, I jumped in the shower with my own tomato juice. I’ve never had so much vitamin C in my life. The house still smells a tad funky and Fenway is wiped out and a little discombobulated.
Here’s the very late, sweet smell of success edition of the Rangers Reaction:
1. Admit it — You didn’t think the Rangers had it in them, did you? You were convinced they would be sellers at the trade deadline (still could be), that they would be 20 games behind the Astros in the A.L. West by the All-Star break (hey, the Astros might be the best team in the majors this year) and the 2017 season was just about to go down the tubes (let’s give it another month). Before you get too stoked about the Rangers’ six-game win streak (and you should be excited), remember, the Rangers haven’t exactly been beating the ’27 Yankees the past six nights. They’ve beaten two of the worst teams in the majors during the stretch and are 12-4 against the Royals, Padres and A’s, all last-place teams. But don’t blame the Rangers for that. They’re beating the teams in front of them and have come a game within .500.
2. Finally some relief — A big reason for the Rangers turnaround has been a steadier bullpen. During the streak, the relief staff has combined to allow three earned runs on 15 hits in 15 2/3 innings. They’ve only walked two in the stretch while striking out nine.
How the Rangers’ relievers have fared during the six-game win streak:
3. Getting defensive — Jeff Banister would not concede a few weeks ago that his team was poor defensively. A rash of errors, including some costly ones, were becoming a problem and the question was getting brought up on a regular basis. Since making two errors in Seattle on May 6, the Rangers have played errorless baseball. The haven’t made an error in eight consecutive games and they’ve turned in some stellar defense with multiple highlight-reel plays from Elvis Andrus, Joey Gallo and Carlos Gomez. Some of the credit goes to the pitching staff, Banister said, for working quicker, allowing fewer walks and keeping their defense engaged.
“When pitchers are very methodical, throwing balls and you’re out on the field for 20-plus pitch innings, your legs get heavy and you’re not as attentive,” he said. “When a pitcher works fast, defenses play better.”
Okay, my house still stinks. Time for another tomato bath for Fenway.