Chris Gimenez #60 of the Texas Rangers hits a two run double against the Minnesota Twins during the eighth inning of the game on May 26, 2014 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Rangers defeated the Twins 7-2. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Funny thing happened on the way to the Rangers’ funeral.
The healthy pall bearers stubbornly refused to hop in the casket. Started to hit. And, at least for the time being, began to win.
In the midst of as bad a stretch of baseball and baseball news this organization has experienced in seven years, Texas suddenly broke out of an offensive slump and served notice that the shovels for the grave aren’t necessary. Yet, anyway.
Prince Fielder out for the season. Jurickson Profar shelved another couple months. Too many pitching injuries to count. And a players-only meeting in the middle of the team’s worst start since 2007. None of it has factored in to the Rangers’ play the last week.
Since that clear-the-air meeting May 18 in Arlington, Texas is 5-1. Even more surprising, a lineup void of its biggest bat has erupted for 46 runs in those games, including 35 in winning three of four in Detroit from the AL’s best team and tagging the Twins for another seven in a Memorial Day romp.
Desperation? Maybe. Relief from lofty expectations? Perhaps. The last valiant gasps of a fatally flawed team? Yeah, could be.
But what the Rangers produced and accomplished in the last eight days is nonetheless impressive. Manager Ron Washington has convinced them to not raise the white flag of surrender even though – admit it – a lot of the fans have. And the players left standing – Alex Rios, Elvis Andrus and even Plan C catcher Chris Gimenez – are playing hard and hitting harder.
With ace Yu Darvish on the mound tonight in Minnesota, the Rangers could extend their resurgence to six wins in seven games. If nothing else, we’ll remain interested in baseball into June.
A week ago that prospect seemed bleak at best.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.