Texas Rangers

Exciting 2016 Texas Rangers season included deep downers

Prince Fielder's emotional goodbye to baseball

Rangers designated hitter Prince Fielder said goodbye to the game after a second neck surgery since May 2014 (Video by Stefan Stevenson/Star-Telegram).
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Rangers designated hitter Prince Fielder said goodbye to the game after a second neck surgery since May 2014 (Video by Stefan Stevenson/Star-Telegram).

The Texas Rangers 2016 season had all the hallmarks you’d expect in a magical division-winning year. But it also had its share of downers. Obviously, being swept in the first round of the playoffs gave a sour taste to what otherwise had been a sweet ride. The Rangers’ winning was made even more impressive by some of the hurdles they were forced to navigate. Here’s a look at five rough moments from the year.

Top 5 disappointing moments of 2016:

1. So long Prince

No one knew at the time but Prince Fielder played his last game on July 18 in Anaheim. He went 0 for 4 that night, reaching on a fielding error at first base in his lat at-bat in the 8th inning. The next day Fielder told the club he wasn’t feeling right and was examined by a doctor in Los Angeles. On July 29, Fielder had spinal fusion surgery for the second time in two years.

Prince Fielder
Texas Rangers’ Prince Fielder, left, wipes his eyes with his son Haven during a news conference on Aug. 10 to announce that his playing career had been cut short after a second neck surgery. Fielder, 32, played his last game July 18 in Anaheim. Tony Gutierrez photo@star-telegram.com

During an emotional press conference on Aug. 10, Fielder, flanked on one side by agent Scott Boras and the other by his two sons Jadyn and Haven, announced that he could no longer play. His Rangers teammates, coaches and front office staff were crammed inside the room for support.

2. Blue Jay blues

The rematch with the Blue Jays in the ALDS was rightly billed as must-see television. The Jays had sent the Rangers home the previous year after a famously wacky Game 5 comeback that included Jose Bautista’s seventh-inning bat flip. Tensions rose even more when Rougned Odor punched Bautista after a hard slide at Globe Life Park on May 15.

Rangers Jays(2)
Rangers relief pitcher Alex Claudio, left, and second baseman Rougned Odor soak in the 7-6 loss in 10 innings in Game 3 of the ALDS, ending the Rangers season at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. Max Faulkner mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

Bautista had reached base after getting plunked in the torso by a Matt Bush fastball. After six games and six innings were the Rangers finally sending a message to Bautista? Of course. But if that was too subtle for you Odor then added the over the top visuals.

Rangers Jays(3)
Josh Donaldson scores the winning run as Rangers catcher Jonathan Lucroy tries to make the tag at the Blue Jays eliminated the Rangers 7-6 in 10 innings in Game 3 of the ALDS at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. Max Faulkner mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

3. July swoon

The Rangers never lost more than four consecutive games in 2016 but they did it twice during a 4-15 stretch from June 29 to July 22. The string included going 2-5 against the Twins, the worst team in the majors and losses of 17-5, 12-5, 10-1 and 15-5, which didn’t do a whole lot to help the Rangers’ run differential, if that was important to you. (I kid.)

Rangers Twins(2)
Twins Kennys Vargas, left, greets Max Kepler at home after his grand slam in the 5th inning against the Rangers on July 10 at Globe Life Park. Richard W. Rodriguez rrodriguez@star-telegram.com

By the time they stopped the skid, their lead in the West had gone from 10 to 2.5 games. They turned it around in August, going 18-10 and building their lead back up to 9.5 games at the start of September.

Rangers Twins
Brian Dozier is greeted in the Twins’ dugout after a home run in the 7th inning against the Rangers on July 10 at Globe Life Park. Richard W. Rodriguez rrodriguez@star-telegram.com

4. Desmond’s dive

Make no mistake, Ian Desmond carried the Rangers for much of the first three months of the season and earned a spot on the All-Star team. In the second half, however, Desmond slowed down.

Desmond
Ian Desmond struggled in the second half, hitting 85 points lower, collecting 24 fewer RBIs and saw his slugging percentage drop from .524 to .347 in the second half. Richard W. Rodriguez rrodriguez@star-telegram.com

The comparison is stunning, even factoring in that he played in 22 fewer games in the second half.

 

G

AB

R

H

2B

HR

RBI

SB

BB

SO

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

1st

89

351

65

113

22

15

55

15

28

94

.322

.375

.524

.899

2nd

67

274

42

65

7

7

31

6

16

66

.237

.283

.347

.630

5. Derek In Dutch

Derek Holland’s inability to harness any kind of consistency led to the lefty becoming a free agent and ultimately signing with the White Sox. Since returning from a knee injury in September 2014 after missing most of the season and pitching exceptionally in his five starts to close out the season he never regained that form. Another injury early in the 2015 season limited him to 10 starts, only four of which were quality starts. He started strong in ‘16 but his velocity was down and he was back on the disabled list in June with left shoulder inflammation.

Holland
Derek Holland was placed on the disabled list in June and when he returned two months later was no longer part of the regular rotation. Rodger Mallison rmallison@star-telegram.com

He missed the next two months and was pushed out of the regular rotation. After posting a 3.42 ERA in a career-high 213 innings in 2013, Holland’s compiled a 4.30 ERA in 203 innings combined over his last three seasons with the Rangers.

Holland(2)
Derek Holland was strong in his first five starts in 2016 but was rocked for 11 earned runs in 2 2/3 innings on May 5. By June 22 he was placed on the disabled list. Rodger Mallison rmallison@star-telegram.com

Stefan Stevenson: 817-390-7760, @StevensonFWST

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