I feel bad for the Braves. Heading into Friday's tilt in Texas, they trailed Pittsburgh by two games in the race for the NL's second wild card. After leaving Arlington Sunday afternoon, that deficit has doubled.
The Rangers, the unlikeliest sweepers in MLB, accomplished the feat for just the second time in 2014, and the first since taking a three game set on the road in Oakland at the end of April. Between then and now, Texas have gone 43-84 (.339) -- easily the worst mark in baseball. Unironically, the Rangers now travel to Oakland for a three-game set starting Tuesday.
It only took 149 games -- 92% of the season -- for Texas to record their most prolific offensive output, at least in terms of hits (18), during the 2014 season. Every Ranger sans Adrian Beltre, by far the best hitter on the team and one of the best overall players in MLB this season, recorded at least one hit on Sunday, and aside he and J.P. Arencibia every starter recorded at least two hits.
Luis Sardinas went 3-5 with two doubles and 4 RBI, Michael Choice went 2-3 with a double and 3 RBI, and Leonys Martin and Robinson Chirinos recorded three hits as well. It was an awesome display of what I imagine a lineup is supposed to look like when everything is clicking, something the Rangers haven't shown a lot of this season through no fault of the suspect talent on its roster. Aside Martin, Beltre, Elvis Andrus, and probably Chirinos, there's a solid chance everyone else in the lineup is either in Triple-A or a different organization in 2015, except perhaps Ryan Rua who could crack the Opening Day roster as a 4-corners utility man.
Colby Lewis did what Colby Lewis has been doing during the second half, providing seven strong innings while allowing just a run on five hits. He has been really, really impressive lately and odds are progressively growing that he returns to the starting rotation next year. That makes me happy.
A sweep is a sweep, which is cool and all, but with Colorado being swept themselves this weekend, Texas's stranglehold on the #1 pick in the 2015 draft is getting weak. With just 13 games remaining on the schedule, they possess a minute two-game advantage on the Rockies -- a tough pill to swallow in wake of arguably the Rangers most impressive series of the season.
Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty jazzed about Texas winning baseball games again, but I consider myself rational in most instances and the rational in me can't bring myself to root for finishing anything but last place this year. To the layman it's probably not a proper thing to wish for from my favorite team, but as I've written ad nauseam, the incentives are too great to wish for anything else at this point. The Rangers have been too bad for too long that I almost feel like they deserve it.
Either way, this weekend was probably the last hurrah of the 2014 season, as their final 13 contests come against Oakland (seven times), Houston and Anaheim.