To suggest the Rangers were capable of winning 10 of 11 games down the stretch wasn't only unconscionable, it was inconceivable.
In less than two weeks, Texas managed to turn a five-game lead on the 2015 #1 pick into a 1.5 game deficit, a 6.5 game swing over the course of 11 baseball games. In 2012, the Rangers owned a 5-game lead on the A's in the AL West with 9 games remaining, and somehow fumbled in what can easily be considered the worst collapse in team history, arguably baseball history. This year is a different bag, but, given the circumstances of the roster, the result may be just as improbable.
Tonight Nick Martinez pitched brilliantly in 6.2 innings; he didn't allow any runs, and gave up as many hits (5) as he had punch outs. I had to look this up, but this is Martinez's 13th straight start where he's gone at least five innings on the bump. In fact, in Nick's 23 starts in 2014 he's been able to go at least five innings in all but two of them, which surprises me because of how unimpressive I have him pictured in memory. Having gone 6.2 innings scoreless on Tuesday night, it drops his ERA on the season to 4.61 in 134.2 IP. Not everyone can be a solid mid-rotation starter, but for a rookie -- a guy who ideally would have been in Triple-A this season -- it's hard to look at his 2014 campaign as anything but a success.
After a 1-3 night that included a rare walk, J.P. Arencibia improved his triple slash line on the season up to a whopping .177/.239/.369 (64 wRC+). There was a time when Ranger fans believed he had found something -- this came after he was recalled in July and went on a mini-HR tear -- but since that date (July 18th) he's hit .193/.257/.421 (85 wRC+). For a catcher who offers little defensive value, his bat isn't even remotely good enough to warrant a roster spot in 2015. Look for this to be the second straight year where he gets non-tendered by his club.
With five games remaining on the schedule, the odds of the Rangers making up two games on Arizona in the loss column -- which is more like three games, since Texas have the tiebreaker advantage -- probably isn't going to happen. We might have something like a 25:1 shot, if we're lucky.