Running From The Grand Ennui: Rangers, White Sox Split
Today’s headline was the title of a post-Monkees Mike Nesmith song. At the quarter pole of the 2011 season, it seems apropos, not only in gauging the Rangers play thus far this season, but also assessing many of us who write about our favorite Texas team on a regular basis.
We as fans get spoiled very easily. A year ago, we who have suffered with this team through way more thin than thick were getting truly excited for the first time in a very long time. The Rangers were starting to get into a groove and things were starting to look up. Now, a year later, Texas is tied for first place despite being without Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz for an extended period of time, Neftali Feliz for two weeks, and now with Julio Borbon down for a couple weeks as well. Still, one World Series appearance has already gotten us spoiled and blase about things. How else to explain how many of my fellow Rangers bloggers (and I include me among them) have slowed our contributions to the blogosphere?
To be sure, mine was a bit calculated. At my age, it gets a little harder to write about the Rangers on a daily basis when my actual paying gig has to take precedence. Thus, I made the conscious decision to maybe only do a post after every series this year instead of every game. I can’t help but notice, however, that several other of my Rangers brethren have also slowed down their efforts considerably here in the 2011 season. I’m not giving them a hard time. Their lives may be just as complicated and/or busy as mine. Maybe, though, just maybe we all are also suffering a bit from post-World Series malaise. Now that we’ve tasted how sweet being in the World Series is, it makes us more indifferent to our team when they are playing at the less than masterful level they are currently at.
Just as the Rangers have to battle their way out of the mediocrity they’re in (getting Cruz back this weekend could be a good start), I will attempt to do the same and hope my fellow Rangers bloggers can stage comebacks of their own because, after all, who DOESN’T want to learn more about the Rangers? :-)
The road trip started with a GREAT pitching performance from Colby Lewis, who notched his first career MLB shutout with a five-hit gem in the series opener. Endy Chavez, who looked so overmatched in his first two games with the Rangers, looked the opposite in two games against the White Sox, with two multiple hit games, a couple doubles, a bunt single, a steal or two and a walk or two as well.
Still, as good as Lewis was Monday, the Rangers threw away their chance at getting the sweep Tuesday. Staked to a 3-0 lead, the Rangers squandered scoring opportunity after scoring opportunity. After making Jonathon Danks throw 60+ pitches in the first two innings, they spent the next five innings only making throw 40+. Matt Harrison pitched a pretty solid game for Texas Tuesday, but one mistake resulted in a 3-run game tying homer. The much maligned Texas bullpen did the rest, with Cody Eppley continuing his disturbing trend of following up a good game with a bad one. Eppley’s 8th inning wild pitch plated the go-ahead run, ending the Rangers night in a first place tie with the Oakland A’s.
Two games with the Royals starting tonight. With Alexi Ogando on the mound tonight, I can’t help but feel good about our chances.