This will be a short Rangers reaction. A bunch of reasons went into this decision starting with a missed flight back to DFW.
Admittedly, I don’t work all that fast but several variables conspired against me Sunday night. First of all, the Rangers’ 6-5 smack-across-the-face loss to the White Sox lasted three hours, 43 minutes. There were more visits to the mound than sirens going off on the Southside.
I’ll get to that eighth-inning blown save in the reaction because I know you can’t wait to read about another edition of the Rangers’ 2017 waking nightmare.
A bunch of news came during and after the game, including Yu Darvish earning his fourth All-Star selection and Elvis Andrus being named one of the five finalist for the American League Final Vote. More on that below, too. So I’m working as fast as I can and finally get out to the Guaranteed Rate Field media lot around 7:30 p.m. I even asked the front desk guy whether the lot had been locked up. (Yes, this has happened to me before. Don’t judge!) He didn’t know but told me to come back and tell me if it was and he’d call security to unlock it.
As I’m walking out, a guy on a service cart is walking out with me and says something about it closing at 7 p.m. and sped off. He had some attitude and it crossed my mind that he sure looked like a security guy that would be locking and unlocking parking lot gates. But he sped off in the opposite direction as I headed to my car. Sure enough, the gate was locked so I headed back to the ballpark’s reception desk to let the staff know. The receptionist was really nice and called security. By the this time it had only been about 10 minutes and my flight was at 9:35 p.m. at O’Hare, about a 25-minute drive in no traffic. How bad could it be on a Sunday evening, right?
So I go back to my car and before I get there I see the angry dude and his driver on a cart by my car. Before I get to my car the old codger yells, “We’re waiting on you!”
I almost laughed because he seemed like a funny old curmudgeon.
Me: “I just saw you and the receptionist told me to come tell him if the gate was locked, so I did.”
Old codger: “Yeah, we’re here waiting for you. We’d like to go home!”
It was as if he thought I was up in the press box until 7 p.m. playing with box scores and scrounging for stowed away old hot dogs. (The hot dog part may or may not be true.)
I shot back: “Me too!”
He sped off, mumbling some Chicago-styled profanities about me to his mute driver, I’m sure.
I followed them in my car towards the gate and thanked him through the window after unlocking it. He didn’t respond but I didn’t care. I was in danger of missing my flight so I needed to book it on I-90 to O’Hare.
Cut to me driving about two miles before hitting standstill traffic near downtown Chicago. I was going to miss my flight. Thanks, Chicago!
Here’s the Reaction:
1. If you’re just joining us — The Rangers blew their league-leading 17th save Sunday afternoon. Jose Leclerc joined the list with his first of the year. He allowed a two-run homer in the eighth that gave the White Sox the 6-5 win. How bad is 17 blown saves? The Rangers had 17 of them the entire season in 2016.
The record for blown saves in a season is 39 for the 1996 Rockies.
The disheartening thing for the Rangers is that manager Jeff Banister’s decision after Friday’s blown save by Matt Bush (his fifth) to go without a named closer for the time being was working well earlier in the game. Ernesto Frieri and Bush each threw scoreless innings in the sixth and seventh. And Leclerc had an out and an 0-2 count on Todd Frazier before walking him. Leclerc struck out Matt Davidson and was one out from sending the game to the ninth and handing over the save chance to Keone Kela, who was warming up in the bullpen. But Yolmer Sanchez smacked a curve ball into the right-field bleachers and that was that.
2. All-Star snub, sort of — Elvis Andrus has been the best player for the Rangers during the first half and it’s not close. He deserves to be an All-Star for the third time. Yu Darvish, who was selected by the league, is deserving, too. But if each club gets at least one representative it should be Andrus. Andrus’ chances of winning the fan-driven Final Vote probably aren’t great. He’s up against Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts, Yankees’ shortstop Didi Gregorious, Rays’ first baseman Logan Morrison and Royals’ third baseman Mike Moustakas.
Bogaerts and Gregorious are likely to garner more rabid fan support by virtue of those fanbases. But prove me wrong, Rangers Nation, get out and vote here: MLB Final Vote ballot.
You can also text in your vote and tweet your vote. I tried reading the Twitter voting rules but passed out halfway through. Check out those rules here.
Andrus could also be named as an alternate if another player is unavailable. He and his wife are expecting their first child on July 12 (the day after the game) but Andrus said they might move up the birth with induced labor. He plans on attending if he wins the Final Vote or is asked to fill a roster spot.
3. He’s got wheels — Robinson Chirinos collected his first-career stolen base in the fourth inning. Chirinos stole second and the throw sailed into center field. Chirinos advanced to third base and the throw from the outfield got past third baseman Matt Davidson, allowing Chirinos to score. Chirinos had been on base 301 times before that stolen base, the third most by an active player without a stolen base. Sunday was also the first time Chirinos has caught consecutive games this season.
4. Missed opportunities — Every time you turned around it seemed like the Rangers had the bases loaded during the series. Too often, however, not much came of it. In the series, they loaded the bases with no outs three times and combined to score three runs.
5. Ross struggles again — Tyson Ross struggled with his command and walked five batters and hit another in five innings. He allowed four runs on four hits and struck out three. The Rangers walked seven in the game and three of those batters scored. The Rangers have walked 278 batter, tenth-most in the league. The starters have 166 (11th) and the relievers have 112 (10th).
Sheesh. This didn’t turn out to be that short after all.