One Strike Away

For as long as I have the mental capabilities to understand baseball, those words will haunt me. 

Not one game, not one inning, not one out. 

One Strike. 

One strike away from a World Championship; more than once. 

Today, those words came back in a frightful manner.  Sure, the stage was not as big as the first time that quote came back to bite us, but the missed opportunity still resonates within the Texas fan base.  

How do the Rangers recover from that?  How does a team show the resilience to fight through the mental challenges presented by a gut-punch loss?  How does the bullpen perform tomorrow while at the point of exhaustion?  How does Tolleson perform moving forward?  How much does Banister question himself after throwing Tolleson to the wolves for the fifth straight day?

Today's game provided so many questions which will be answered within 24 hours. 

Assuming the Astros hold on tonight; tomorrow is the real deal. 

One game for the AL West title.  One game, against your biggest rival, with your ace on the mound, for a division title. 

As much as I want to have a feeling of despair following today's game, I cannot.  The 2015 Texas Rangers are playing with house money.  

They aren't supposed to be here. 

Yet here they are; and tomorrow, here we will be, wearing red, and hoping for the best. 

162+ is already guaranteed, so, regardless of outcome, the magic does not stop tomorrow. In all reality, today's loss matters just as much as July 29's Yankees 21, Rangers 5: they all count as only one game in the standings.   1/162 of the season.  That's it. 

Tomorrow is a new day, and the playoffs mark a new season, whether it be as AL West champions or as the second wild car. 

Cole Hamels is on the mound tomorrow and he is in a Rangers uniform for only one reason. 

Shove tomorrow, Cole. 

Never ever quit.