Unfortunately, some endeavors are easier than others. In this case, finding five positives from the Rangers’ 2014 was a much simpler task than identifying five negatives.
Yesterday I had to go hunting for the feel-good moments from the Rangers’ year. Today? Glumly sifting through all the endless lowlight possibilities.
In a forgettable season that included the loss of 95 games and the death of long-time clubhouse manager Joe Macko, here are the Bottom 5 Negatives From the Rangers in 2014. Good riddance.
5. Hard to believe the Rangers were at .500 (35-35) as late as June 16. But then reality set in, and the injury onslaught commenced. Without Prince Fielder’s bat and forced to send pitchers like rookie Nick Martinez to the mound, the Rangers promptly lost eight in a row to begin a long slide to the AL West cellar. The eighth loss was a hapless 6-0 shutout to Rick Porcello and the Tigers. In those eight games the Rangers were held to two runs or less six times. And it was just the beginning of an offensive futility that paved the way for a hideous, historic 10-35 stretch of bad baseball.
4. One of the worst moments of the season actually happened before the season when pitcher Derek Holland tripped over his dog running down the stairs in his house and suffered a knee injury that cost him the first four months of the season.
3. There were 95 losses, and the May 16th defeat to the Blue Jays only counted as one. But it was a sign of bigger, unsuccessful picture in which ace Yu Darvish continually got little to no run support. Darvish struck out 11 Blue Jays and allowed only two runs over eight innings, but got tagged with the loss when Texas couldn’t push across even a single run. In half of Darvish’s starts, the Rangers scored three runs or less.
2. Fielder was acquired in an off-season trade for Ian Kinsler, but wound up hitting only three homers because of a neck injury that no one can still pinpoint as to when or how it happened.
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1. Losing 95 games in a season that began with World Series aspirations was bad. Losing Ron Washington to an abrupt resignation on Sept. 5 was worse. But having the winningest manager in franchise history just up and walk away without a detailed explanation to fans remains a mystery that will sting this team for years to come. Truth is, the manager who got the Rangers within one strike of winning the World Series is also a man who used cocaine during the season and cheated on his wife of his 42 years.
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.