Well boys and girls what a season for the Texas Rangers as they trekked their way from last to first in just a few short months. Not only did a first year manager in Jeff Bannister help the Rangers do a full 180 from their 2014 campaign but they were one game away from advancing to the ALCS.
One word to describe this team could be “remarkable” or even “tough”. I predicted to begin the season that they would win between 78-82 games with a chance to make the post season as a wild card. They exceeded my expectations along with every other Ranger and baseball fans. Just imagine what this team could look like with more experience, a healthy rotation, and possibly a few added mashers in the middle.
This season saw a first year manager, coach his tail off and we got to witness young players like Odor really excel with his fiery passion and his competitiveness. How about the play of Delino Deshields? This guy was an outcast from the Astros organization and all he did was set the table with his blazing speed and great plate awareness. We’ll take a look at the series finale against the Jays and recap the positives and negatives of the 2015 post-season.
ALDS Series/ Game5:
To say this was a strange series is an understatement! The road team goes up 2-0 in the series to head back to their house in where they were hotter than a fox in a forest fire. Toronto said not so fast as their bats woke up when the Rangers team did not. Inexperience? Bad luck? Whatever you want to deem the Rangers post-season is probably a fair assessment. Toronto is only the third team since the playoff expansion in 1995 to win a series after going down 0-2 at home to start.
Any way you slice it Toronto stood up to the challenge, made the pitches, and got the clutch hits to advance. You could also say well where was Mitch Moreland (0-13) or Prince Fielder (3-20) in this series? Simple, they didn’t show up and struggled mightily while pressing at the wrong time of year. Beltre’s injury was a huge blow to this team even after the game 2 win which caused Fielder and Moreland to maybe press a little too much. Whatever the case may be the big sluggers and veterans did not get it done in this series while the young guns accounted for almost all the runs and excitement.
Don’t even get me started on Elvis Andrus and his mistakes in game 5. For a guy who’s suppose to be a leader and a veteran now in the clubhouse did not show it in the field nor at the plate. Sure he’s human and everybody makes mistakes but we’ve seen this story in the past and it looks like he hasn’t fixed this problem. This may be a team game but his 2 errors and the bad throw by Moreland he couldn’t handle pretty much cost the Rangers and Hamels a victory in Toronto.
It will be interesting to see what becomes on him this off-season and on into spring training. Will Daniels finally think about trading the veteran shortstop or will he continue to ride this horse knowing the issues that could arise at any moment. Andrus is getting paid like a top 3 SS in baseball but his play and stats prove otherwise. With everything that went wrong, Texas still had an opportunity to take game 5 and move on but they literally “dropped the ball”.
Bat Flip/ Toronto Fans:
The Bautista bat flip has been a widely discussed topic with people having different views on the subject. Here’s my take as being a former pitcher and player. Let me set the record straight and say that even if Bautista would have been on the Rangers roster and had done this I would feel the same about it. It was childish, disrespectful, and downright uncalled for.
I understand the heat of the moment and hitting a huge 3 run homer to put your team up, but it was the way he stood there and watched it. Then threw his bat like he was some kind of a super human. To me act like you’ve hit a big homer before, put your head down, and take your bases instead of showing up the pitcher the entire time. I’m not saying you can’t celebrate some but there’s a line and he crossed it no doubt. But then again he’s never hit a big homer in the playoffs so maybe he was getting his shot to celebrate.
When the Rangers face him next season I will bet that we may have some fireworks and I would have no problem with them sending a little message to him. Bautista and Donaldson both ran their mouth the entire series and they came off as small children with short tempers. Since we’re on the subject about being disrespectful and classless. How about those Toronto fans? I’ve never seen such an ignorant and classless fan base in baseball, and that’s including Yankee fans! Granted they haven’t been to the playoffs since 1993, but that was just awful. Fights in the stands, throwing garbage onto the field, hitting children with beer bottles, and having your own team try to settle the crowd down is pathetic.
Just because you don’t agree with the correct call doesn’t give you the right to act like animals, but then again its Canada and maybe they forgot it was a baseball game and not hockey. Nevertheless it was shocking and sad to see adults behave this way and the city should be ashamed of how their fans acted during this series.
The Rangers will take time to reflect on things and how they let a good potential playoff run go down the drain. Rangers fans have a lot of excitement for next season with a lights out starting rotation, a bullpen that got on the job experience, and young position players getting invaluable reps. The future is very bright once again deep in the heart of Texas. With a few tweaks this team could be scary good come next season barring major injuries that this team has had to face the past couple of seasons.
I will have a season recap coming up soon to show some of the good and bad of the Rangers 2015 season. If your impatient here’s a little tidbit, I think the Rangers are a few players away from truly competing for a World Series but does that mean trading away a veteran?
Until next time…