The Baltimore Orioles won’t complain if voters approve the funding mechanism for the city’s chunk of the proposed New Ballpark in Arlington with a Retractable Roof.
A roof April 17 would have seen the Orioles and Texas Rangers get a game rather than have a game postponed to the dreaded mutual off day, which just happened to be Monday.
The Orioles were barely in Texas 24 hours. They arrived from Baltimore late Sunday night and were scheduled to be back in the air late Monday night with an early-morning arrival back home.
On top of that, they just played a game in which they collected 15 hits on the road and lost. That says a lot about the Rangers.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 4-3 victory Monday.
1. On June 3, the Rangers and Seattle Mariners were tied for first place in the American League West with 31-22 records.
As of Monday night, 17 days later, the Rangers are 46-25, the Mariners are 36-34, and the Rangers are 9 1/2 games up in the West.
The Houston Astros will remind the Rangers that having a large cushion isn’t a sure thing. They led the Rangers by 9 1/2 games May 20 and by nine games July 22 and by eight games Aug. 2, though the Astros never led the division by more than seven games.
The Rangers, who have won seven straight and an MLB-best 36 of 51 since April 26, in no way think their work here is done. They know what they did last year, what they need to do this year, and that it’s easier said than done.
But they do have some numbers on their side.
The Rangers have 91 games remaining. Even if they go 45-46 the rest of the way, playing below .500 baseball, they will win 91 games. At some point this season the Rangers are going to slump, but it seems like a long shot to think that they will play below .500 the rest of the way based on the evidence at hand.
They know how to win games and have been winning them in a variety of ways. The long ball. Great starting pitching. Gritty bullpen work. Clutch hits.
And, keep in mind that Yu Darvish is expected to be healthy relatively soon, so is Keone Kela, and the Rangers can make whatever trade they want thanks to a loaded farm system.
In other words, they have a chance to get better.
The Mariners have 92 games remaining and also have a chance to get better. The return of Felix Hernandez is going to help with that. But for them to win 91 games, they have to go 55-37. That’s .598 baseball.
The Astros are 35-36 and, like the Rangers, have 91 games left. That’s plenty of time to improve and make a deal or two to help speed the improvement. But the Astros have to go 56-35 to reach 91 wins. That’s .615 baseball.
What does that all mean? The Rangers are in a good spot. On June 20. With 91 games remaining.
There’s a long way to go, and the Rangers know it.
2. Derek Holland was terrible at times and at other times really good. He was both in the third inning alone.
Holland took the Rangers on a short roller-coaster ride, but his team was leading when he left after 91 pitches in 4 1/3 innings.
So, did Holland do his job?
He gave up nine hits, put his team in a position where they had to play from behind, and put a heavy burden on an already overworked bullpen by not completing even five innings.
Jeff Banister gave the following assessment:
“Holland had labored all night long. I just felt that where he was at, the number of pitches, how he’d been pitching, the look of it, the way he labored, really the inability to execute the pitches, the fastball location and then the secondary stuff didn’t seem to be very sharp.”
Followed shortly thereafter by, about him not pitching deep in the game: “Obviously, it’s not perfect and we can’t continue to do that. We’ve logged in some pretty significant innings here lately out of the bullpen. Look, they need some rest also.”
Not exactly a ringing endorsement. More like Paul Ryan with Donald Trump.
But Holland’s mid-meltdown recovery, which started after the Orioles loaded the bases with no outs in the third inning, helped keep the Rangers down only 3-0 and gave them a chance to win the game.
The Rangers are 8-6 this season when he has started, and with Darvish down, it seems highly unlikely that Holland will be moving to the bullpen anytime soon. But Darvish isn’t going to be out forever, and A.J. Griffin is expected to return as soon as Friday.
Draw your own conclusions, but something has to give.
3. Only two more games remain until the Rangers get an off day.
The make-up game Monday from April 17, a day in which it rained like heck in the morning and then the forecasters were proven wrong by mid-afternoon, was the Rangers’ 18th game in 18 days.
They are 15-3 so far, and the Cincinnati Reds, last in the National League Central and 10-24 on the road, are coming to town Tuesday and Wednesday.
A stretch that can wreck a team instead has seen the Rangers start to pull away in the AL West.
All that winning has made the stretch tolerable. The load the bullpen has carried doesn’t seem quite so bad, and the slumps of Prince Fielder and Holland have been easier to stomach.
“When you win there’s a lot of feel-good, and when you win there’s a lot of confidence,” Banister said. “Winning creates energy. Momentum is in the energy. It sure does feel good to go home at night with a win, lay down and get up the next day and come to the ballpark.”
How the Rangers have won has helped, too, Banister said.
“The come-from-behinds. We’re taking advantage of mistakes and being rewarded for playing hard,” Banister said. “When you play hard and get rewarded for it, you continue to play hard.”
The Rangers have two more games before their reward will be an off day.