The date is May 1st, the Rangers are 7-14 and already 7.5 games back of the Astros for the division lead. After taking a 5-0 lead into the top of the 8th, the Rangers win probability is at 99%. At the end of the 8th inning, Texas walked off the field down two runs and went on to lose by the score of 7-5.
The awful feeling of the 2014 season still lingered in our minds as we were just delivered with what seemed to be a daily gut-punch. There was a feeling that no lead was ever safe and that no deficit could be comeback from, baseball just wasn’t fun anymore.
Following this loss, Texas split the next two games in Oakland. Then after that…
At this point the Rangers are close, the offense is getting hot, but the bullpen has to be addressed. Following Neftali Feliz’s third blown after the second loss of the Cleveland series, Banister comes out and states that there are no more roles in the bullpen. A move that predecessor, Ron Washington may have been reluctant to do.
Since Banny decided to go no roles, the Texas ‘pen has thrown 27⅓ innings and owns a 2.32 ERA, with no blown saves. These encouraging stats enabled the following to be possible…
Texas, now 15-8 since that gut-punch on May 1st, is just 3.5 GB of the second Wild Card spot. Largely in part of big help from the bullpen of late, unexpectedly strong outings from the rotation and an offense that has climbed up to 5th in the league in runs. You also can’t go without note of the majestic performance of Prince Fielder, who has put together a slash line of .462/.500/1.000/1.500 with 4 HR’s and 12 RBI’s during this six game winning streak.
The feeling of winning is much more euphoric when you’re not expected to win, now the same ones who once doubted are starting to notice that something may be brewing down in Arlington:
Jon Heyman @JonHeymanCBS think rangers may surprise some folks. prince hitting like .350. some pitchers on way back. under the radar team.
Buster Olney @Buster_ESPN · Rangers’ current focus and investment in each other really stands out — starts with Beltre, Fielder. Dangerous team.
Wandy Rodriguez takes the hill for the Rangers tonight in search of seven straight, and I can’t wait to watch. Baseball is fun again, and it may stay that way for awhile.