Sunday, October 7, 2012

Texas Rangers 2012 - The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Somehow, some way, the sun came up Saturday morning after Friday night's Rangers loss to the Orioles. To be honest, I was more surprised with that fact after Game 7 in 2011 than I was this time around. It is a good thing that we can now complain about a 93 win season. The bar has been raised by the Rangers organization, the players, and the fans. Over 3 million were in the Ball Park this year and many more like me kept up on TV or through the Internet. We talked about it on Facebook and some of us learned to Tweet. The third time would be a charm and in April we seemed locked an loaded.

But it all came crashing down. While the last two weeks were bad, there were signs along the way that this team had many leaks in the dam.

It never won an Academy Award, but if ever there was a movie title which exemplifies the 2012 Texas Rangers season, it is Clint Eastwood's spaghetti western classic "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly". We have gathered a few and would like to hear some of yours.

Check it out after the break.

The Good

Adrian Beltre

I never thought anyone could take the place of Buddy Bell or Steve Buechele as my favorite Ranger 3rd Basemen, but I was wrong. At the plate, in the field he gave everything he had and more. Beltre makes $15 million a year but plays with the enthusiasm of a Little Leaguer. In 2012 his batting line was .321/36/102 and only made eight errors in the field. Easily the Rangers MVP.

Yu Darvish/Matt Harrison

Both pitchers came into 2012 with something to prove. Harrison had a terrible World Series in 2011 and Darvish was one of the biggest stories of the off season. Combined they were 34-20, in 61 starts, over 400 innings, and 350 strikeouts. Harrison had four complete games and two shutouts. At 25 and 26 years of age, Darvish and Harrison should be be Rangers for years to come.


The total attendance figures for Ranger home games was third highest in Major League Baseball behind only the Phillies and Yankees. The Ball Park has become a destination.

The Bad

Rangers lose Colby Lewis and Netfali Feliz

Lewis's numbers were never outstanding, but he had given the Rangers 200 solid innings in two consecutive seasons. He had a solid World Series and was the Opening Day starter. On July 23rd it was announced Lewis would be out 9-12 months due to a torn forearm tendon. Eight days later, after an extended stint on the DL, it was announced Feliz would also be lost for the season. Feliz, making the transition from Closer to Starter was 3-1 but had been out since late May with arm discomfort.


There are three players who seem to bring a spark and life to the Rangers line up. When they are going good, the team seems to go good. In 2011 Nap,Kins, and Nellie at some point carried the team. But this year, none of the three ever got on a hot streak. Kinsler's homers were down from 32 to 19 and on the bases he went from 30 steals and being caught only four times to 21/9 in 2012. In fact the Rangers as a whole failed on the bases. 143 steals and being caught 45 times turned into 91/44 this year. Napoli went from a .320 power hitter to a .220 strikeout in waiting. For Nellie, the "Boomstick" rarely made it's presence felt.

Ron Washington

"Wash" was in a tough spot. If he had tinkered with a two time pennant winner he would have been second guessed and if he had made changes the same would have happened. But, when one game in a season makes a difference,  Washington's decisions deserved to be examined. Micheal Young was a double play machine and a DH with no power yet he had 650 at bats. He is entrenched in his strategy of pulling relievers even when they were unhittable. He kept Jurickson Profar as far away from the field as possible, yet started rookie Martin Perez in the opener against Oakland in game 160. After a prolonged slump, Washington finally moved Hamilton down in the line-up where he went 4/8 in two games. After these two games, Hamilton was moved back to batting third and promptly went 0/5. If an MLB manager can be a +/- 1-3 games a year, who knows. Hopefully Washington is back, but he can't manage like he is afraid.

The Ugly

Roy Oswalt

If we are going to point at players and the Manager, the signing of Roy Oswalt falls right in the lap of GM Jon Daniels and President Nolan Ryan. Oswalt won his first start (26-43 Rockies) on June 22. But after this Oswalt struggled with an ERA over 6.0 and was moved to the bullpen. Then on Sunday, Aug 5th, Oswalt, after two perfect innings of relief pitching, refused to go out for a third inning against the Kansas City Royals. The Rangers lost the game 7-6. In the past this would not have been acceptable, but with no repercussions and the only statements from the club being spin control, this might have been the beginning of the end for this year's championship hopes.


In game 3 of the 2010 World Series, I saw Josh Hamilton hit a home run. At that point, I believed I could be looking at the greatest baseball player I had ever seen. Looking back, his story and his numbers hid the human faults of #32. Little did we know, he would soon turn into the white version of Manny Ramirez. On an off day before a west coast trip to play the Angels and Mariners, Hamilton while in LA appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live. The next day he removed himself from the first game of the Angels series saying he had a sinus infection. Days later we would be told it was Keratitis, caused by an addiction to caffeine. Ranger fans had now added chocolate and sports drinks to drugs, alcohol, tobacco and Christianity and bad base coaching as excuses for Josh's behavior. The absolute lack of effort in the division deciding game in Oakland and the his performance and boos in the Wild Card game marked what more than likely will be an ugly end to Hamilton's Ranger career.

Make no mistake it was a "good" season. But it began to feel different, much different than any of the 5 prior season under Ron Washington. There was the white hot 16-5 start. Forty four games later they were still 11 games over .500. By game 142 the Rangers were 85-57, but in the last twenty games of the season, a stretch in which the club had a record in '10/'11 of 27-13, the Rangers were a paltry 8-12 including 3-7 in it's last ten games. (in '10/11 the Rangers were 15-5). It wasn't just one person, one game or one incident. But what is as sure as a Hamilton first pitch swing, the team needs a shake up and as Ranger fans we better be ready.

There will be new faces. Hamilton will not be back. Nolan Ryan will not accept lack of effort. Jurickson Profar will play, which means a change of position or trade of Ian Kinsler or Elvis Andrus. And as CDog said in his post, Michael Young cannot get 651 at bats in 2013.  These are tough decisions which will affect some of our favorite Rangers. But that is the price we pay for expecting a winner in Arlington.

Rangers vs. Astros - April 2nd, 2013.............. GO RANGERS!


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