Don’t look for the silver lining, Rangers. It’s not there

It’s funny. In a strange way, nothing unusual happened tonight.
Sabathia is the Yankees best pitcher and everyone on the planet expected the Yankees to win Game 1.

And they did.
So why does this feel like a watershed moment of devastation for the Rangers?

Because it was all falling into place so wonderfully.
A win in Game 1.
Knocking Sabathia out early.
Taking control of the game and knowing the WORST case scenario had the series tied 1-1 with Cliff Lee on the mound.

Instead… every insecurity the Rangers had is still out there.

They can’t win a playoff game at home.
Their bullpen isn’t up for the task.
They can’t beat the Yankees.
The Yankees are in their heads.

Of course they are.
How else could you explain how they just couldn’t make an out in that 8th?
How Hamilton messed up that base hit?
How Kinsler got picked off?!

And now they have to play a day game after a night game. They have to shake off the fact that they had Game 1 in the bag… just 6 outs to go with 3 runs to play with… and they couldn’t do it.

Now the Yankees have home field advantage and Sabathia is more than rested to go Game 4 if by some miracle the Rangers win Game 2.

The end result in the playoffs is always what matters.
It doesn’t matter if a team wins or loses 10-0 or 11-10. Just win or lose.

But somehow this felt like an exception to that rule.

The Rangers needed this win… and if they had lost 10-0, I have a feeling they could shrug it off. Now they have to wonder… did they spoil their best chance?

I may have to pull out the DeNiro clip from Cop Land.


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I can’t call the Padres chokers

I know it would be easy to call the Padres choke artists… heck you might even have the numbers to back it up.

On August 25th, the Padres looked like a team of destiny. They improved their record to 76-49. They were up by 8 games in the loss column over San Francisco with 37 games to play.

The Padres had a better record than anyone else in the National League by 5 games in the loss column and were on a run where they won 12 of 15 games.

And then it happened.
The 10 game losing streak.
Squandering a 6 ½ game lead in 16 days.

Finishing the season 14-23.

And now out of the playoff picture. The playoffs start this week and the Padres are playing golf.

On the surface it looks like a huge face plant.

But let’s call Doc Brown and go back in time.
Going into this season, the Padres (with the NL’s second lowest payroll) look like they would be sitting with the Nationals, Pirates and Mets as the few National League teams with no hope.

The only questions going into 2010 were “Where is Adrian Gonzalez going to be traded?” and “Should the Padres deal Heath Bell as well?”

What if I told you a Padres team that EVERYONE seemed to have picked for 90 losses would actually be a 90 WIN team?

That they would be in contention for the entire season with arguably the deepest bullpen in baseball and make it all the way to the last day of the season before being eliminated?

That they would play 3 “lose and your season is over” games on the road and win the first 2?

You’d think I was crazy and demand to know the physics of time travel.

But I think the season should be judged based upon expectations and outcomes. A team whose payroll is less than what the Red Sox paid for Tim Wakefield, J. D. Drew, Mike Lowell, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Josh Beckett this year, is not expected to win more games than the Red Sox.

But they did.

A team with a no name rotation and line up (save for Gonzalez) is expected to contend.

But they did.

They didn’t choke. They destroyed all expectations. If they started off horribly and then caught fire and made it to 90 wins, they’d be considered a triumph.

This isn’t going to look pretty for San Diego’s underrated tortured history. But this wasn’t a choke.

If the METS did this, it would be a choke. But then again the Mets didn’t even contend despite paying $95 million more for their players.

But that is another post.

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Hey Rangers… Nice Killer Instinct

Seriously Rangers… I was all ready for a kick ass post about you guys. You had a 6-1 lead, Javy Vazquez knocked out of the game, Cliff Lee on the mound and notice was being served that there was a new sheriff in the American League.

Then when Jeter tripled, I thought to myself “Uh oh… I’ve seen this before.”

And when the score got to be a 1 run game in the 9th I thought “Oh boy… they are going to take the lead.”

But with the lead taken, the Rangers had the tying run on third with nobody out and Young, Hamilton and Guerrero coming up.

And they couldn’t tie the game.

This was a monumentally stupid loss for the Rangers. The good will of the rally against Rivera last night was flushed down the toilet and they choked this one away.

Now this can be a learning experience or this can be confirmation that they aren’t in the Yankees class just yet.

But teams with titles on their mind find a way to win this… and if need be find a way to tie the score in the 9th.

You know, like the way the Yankees won it in the 9th.

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