Not with a bang, just another whimper in a season full of them. It started by being swept in Anaheim, it ended by being swept in Seattle. In between there were other sweeps, both for and against, there were good days and bad days, there were good months and bad months, but another season ends with the calendar ticking over once more on a postseason-less Rangers team.
The mad rush to output season summaries will now begin. In a few days I hope to run my own version, I plan on doing it position by position, and see where upgrades need to be made. Or I could just do it right here, and say “everywhere”, that way I’ll be in the Ron Washington camp.
Speaking of Ron, here’s his quote: “I always said those guys gave me nine innings every night. Never once did I come into my office after a game and felt those guys laid down on me. That’s a grand quality.” Now, do you believe that? Do you believe him? I don’t have exact quotes to hand, but I’m pretty sure he dogged the team on more than one occasion about lackadaisical play. I know I did, many times, and not just lackadaisical, but downright ugly. I would say that for most of May the Rangers didn’t bother showing up, either with the bat, with the ball, or in the field. And there is more than one blog posting in my archive, and more than one around the blogosphere, that will tell you that not only did the Rangers lay down and die many times, but that Ron Washington was right there with them. He had a reputation as a straight-talker when he got here, but frankly, even though he has given some straight talk at times, he’s more and more been guilty of double-talk. I’m sorry they extended him when they did, because I simply do not trust him to manage the team.
And another one, from the ESPN site: “Asked who was the most improved player this season, Washington said second baseman Ian Kinsler “because of where he was after the first month of the season (hitting .223 on May 17) and the progress he has made on the offensive side. He learned what he can and cannot do.” Kinsler has a .267 average with 20 home runs and 61 RBIs.” Uhh, in April he was .298-9-22. For the rest of the year, .258-11-39. This is improvement? Okay, he did get better towards the end of the year, but how do you say a guy improved when his best month was the first month?
A quote from TR Sullivan on the Rangers site: “This is the first time since 1900 that an American League team has not thrown at least one complete game.” Which is true, since the AL didn’t begin play until 1901.
The Rangers ended up 7th in the majors in runs scored. How is that possible, you ask? After all, they were terrible at the start of the year, couldn’t score to save their lives (yes, I cleaned that line up a little), and didn’t have a single 100 run man or 100 RBI man (first time since 1990). Well, remember that 30 run game? Of course you do. Knock off those runs and the Rangers would fall to 13th, in the middle of the pack. Still higher than I would have expected though. Compare that to their other stats, they should have ended up in the high teens in runs scored. Maybe Sosa really was an RBI machine.
The pitchers ended up 25th in runs conceded, which is a good performance for them, given that they were much worse than that early on. In fact, the 4.75 ERA is surprisingly good – remember back in the day, when they had the worst four pitchers in ERA qualification? Millwood ended up as the only guy qualified for the ERA race, finishing 72nd out of 78 (uhh, didn’t he win it a couple of years ago?). Padilla was fortunate to be injured, otherwise he would have gotten the 40 innings he needed to qualify, and would have been just .05 out of last. Tejeda fell apart too soon, Loe would have been below Millwood, but McCarthy recovered enough that he would have been in the mid-60s. Small blessings.
In terms of fielding, the Rangers ended up with the second most errors. Once again, Ron Washington to thank, as he came over with the coaching reputation that was supposed to solve all those worries.
Overall, I’d give the team a D for this year. Not an F, because they improved a little in the second half when it meant nothing. They might have gotten a C-, but being swept in Seattle meant they ended one game behind Oakland, stuck in last.
75 wins. The mediocrity continues. So will the reviews, so keep on reading.