OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 22: Josh Wilson #12 of the Texas Ranger is congratulated by manager Ron Washington #38 (L) after Wilson scored the go ahead run in the top of the ninth inning against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum on April 22, 2014 in Oakland, California. The Rangers won the game 5-4. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Criss Angel would be proud of these Texas Rangers.
The closer you look at the mindfreak they’re performing, the more confused you get.
Adding to the already numerous injuries in the field and atop the mound, the Rangers last night on a cold night in Oakland played without injured Shin-Soo Choo and, after the 4th inning, emergency star Kevin Kouzmanoff, who left with tightness in his back. With pitcher Nick Martinez called up from Double-A to make the fill-in start, it was akin to a team being fitted for a strait-jacket and padlocked in a tank of water.
Somehow – presto! – the Rangers escaped.
With Luis Sardinas playing 2nd base and with key hits from Michael Choice and Josh Wilson and Donnie Murphy, the Rangers rallied for a 5-4 win over the dumbfounded A’s. While their front-line players recover, the goal for the Rangers in April was to somehow patch together enough wins from enough unlikely heroes to stay afloat. To not get buried in the competitive AL West. Truth be told, manager Ron Washington probably would’ve taken a .500 April in the absences of Derek Holland and Matt Harrison and Jurickson Profar and Geovany Soto, especially with Prince Fielder hitting a robust .208.
Cue the smoke and mirrors, the Rangers have won seven of eight and are 13-8. Only the Brewers have more wins in all of baseball.
Down to their final strike Tuesday night, Wilson slapped a two-out, 2-2 pitch off the left-field wall to tie the game, and Choice then bounced a single up the middle for the winning run.
What you think you see are unheralded players like Martinez and Wilson and Murphy and Sardinas. What you actually see is one of the best, scrappiest teams in baseball.
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.