Yesterday’s almost heroic effort notwithstanding, the Texas Rangers will soon be forced into a decision regarding the enigmatic Rougned Odor.
First, the good news. The Texas Rangers are 34-30. They’re in the thick of the wild card race in the American League. Better yet, they posted a very solid 7-4 record during this most recent home stand that culminated in a 9-8 loss to the Oakland A’s in which the Rangers almost completed an insane comeback before finally falling short. All things considered, things are still going quite well for this team.
The other positive, especially from yesterday, was the game for second baseman Rougned Odor. Despite being mired in a career-worst 2019 campaign, Odor very nearly willed the Rangers to victory on the strength of a 3-for-4, two doubles, and three RBI day. He also provided an electrifying run when he stole home in the eighth inning. It was easily the high point in what has been a frustrating year for him.
The problem here, though, is that yesterday’s performance by Odor has been the exception and not the rule. Of course, it’s unreasonable to expect that level of production night in and night out, but the thing that has evaded him is any measure of consistency. More often than not, he’s looked completely lost at the plate. No one has ever confused him with being the most disciplined hitter, but this year has been characterized by a lot of flailing and lot of uncertainty.
This begs the question of whether or not it is a matter of ability. From a personal standpoint, I’d say the answer to that is no. Any follower of this team knows that Odor is capable of lighting up the scoreboard on a regular basis. What we’re probably dealing with here is that massive chasm between a players ears. If you’ve ever played competitive baseball on any level, you understand that a large portion of the game is mental. And once you get lost inside your own head, that’s never a good thing.
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This is probably where Odor finds himself right now. There’s the set of expectations that comes with the contract he signed. Also, if you listen to sports talk radio in this town, or anyone else who might have ties to the team, there was the self-imposed expectation of living up to aftermath of The Punch and all the machismo that that entails. At the end of the day, it’s probably a product of trying to be all things to all people, and that will always be a losing proposition. If there’s a silver lining to all this, though, it’s that it’s not a matter of effort. Rougned Odor hasn’t given up. It’s just not clicking, and the team is having to carry that burden.
Now, the good thing is that yesterday was definitely something to build on. That Rougned Odor was playing his trademark style of hard-nosed, swashbuckling baseball. It was full of the brio that we’ve come to know and appreciate from the guy. To be sure, he looked like he was finally playing with the benefit of the uncluttered mind. So maybe some kind of light came on and he can find a route to the consistency this team needs from him. The Rangers need Odor in full form.
The thing no one wants is a regression to his old habits. Not after all the time and money spent through similar career lulls of his past. That would present a set of circumstances that would likely see Odor doing another unexpected stint in the minors as he works through his problems. No one wants to see this, though. Especially not in a year where it seems like everyone’s having fun except him.
- Published on 06/10/2019 at 11:16 AM
- Last updated at 06/10/2019 at 11:16 AM