Prospects were dim going into a weekend set in Houston. What transpired for the Texas Rangers was nothing short of miraculous.
The Texas Rangers seemingly found every possible way to lose during last week’s four game series versus Oakland. Nowhere was this more apparent than Tuesday’s come from ahead 13-10 extra innings loss. Astonishingly, the Rangers held a 10-2 lead, thanks to Elvis Andrus’s first career grand slam, before allowing the As to storm all the way back with eleven unanswered runs.
So it was little surprise that they lost the last two games of the series. For a season consisting of considerably more valleys than peaks, the Oakland series proved to be the deepest chasm. Worse yet, their reward was a three game set against the hated Houston Astros in their bandbox of a stadium.
Before I get into that, though, I want to theorize on the Ranger mindset going into Houston. Because the team we saw maraud through a sweep of the defending World Series champions did not resemble the squad that bumbled through that Oakland series in the least. I saw a team that may have finally realized, “Hey, what do we have left to lose?” Furthermore, it thoroughly translated to their play.
Yes, the Texas Rangers we saw in Houston provided what is probably a temporary glimpse into what this team is truly capable of. It was good pitching, hot bats, aggressive base running. and just an overall edginess to their game. They were loose and having a lot of fun playing a hard charging brand of baseball that we hadn’t seen in a couple years.
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And make no mistake, this team is riding the hot hand of one Rougned Odor. Yes, this is the same Odor that looked like an utterly lost cause earlier this year. I’m curious as to who ultimately broke through to him, because someone did. He finally stopped pressing so hard and is letting the game to come to him. I think the pressure of living up to his contract got to him in a big way. Maybe he was still trying to live up to “The Punch”.
In any event, he’s a changed man at the plate and at second base. Take yesterday’s defensive gem into account. In most situations, you’d think the Rangers would concede the run in order to get the out in a close ballgame. But the confidence he’s feeling right now made him throw home. It worked. The play at the plate wasn’t even close, and it was absolutely vital in preserving a two-run lead. He’s been nothing short of a massively successful reclamation project lately, and his trademark reckless abandon makes it all the more fun to watch.
Saturday’s game, though, was the prime example of Rougie’s newfound prowess. He simply had the best game of his career going 5-for-5 with two home runs–one of them an inside the park round trip–and a hustling double that translated into a spectacularly hustling run scored. That scoring play brought me out of my chair and provided a reminder of the player we all fell in love with. He deserves all the credit in the world for putting in the work to pull himself out of the deep funk he was in.
To put this weekend in football terms, it’s like when the Longhorns or the Cowboys are having a down year. Sure, it’s frustrating, but if “we” just get over on Oklahoma or Washington, it makes the medicine a little less bitter. That was totally the feeling I got watching the Rangers play the Astros this weekend. Yeah, this season has been an exercise in irritation, but I can’t be mad when my team takes out their aggravations on their biggest rival. That it happened in their yard made it all the sweeter.
- Published on 07/30/2018 at 13:01 PM
- Last updated at 07/30/2018 at 10:41 AM