The Winning Debate in Arlington

The Texas Rangers have a lot of work to do to put a legitimate contender back on the field (Image: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

The Texas Rangers are winning.

Call them lucky, call it a problem that a computer can’t explain to you, call it whatever you feel like calling it. They’re winning. And, at the end of the day, isn’t that all that really matters in the grand scheme of things?

Apparently not to everyone but you can’t make them all happy.

But there is one big argument still taking place over this first place team in the American League West and it has nothing to do with the new additions of catcher Jonathan Lucroy and outfielder Carlos Beltran. It has to do with their bullpen who, by all accounts, has been up and down most of the season and scares any fan when they take over the ballgame from the starting pitching.

Whether it be Sam Dyson the would be closer, Jake Diekman, Matt Bush the hard throwing righty, or the new addition of Jeremy Jeffers who was a closer for the Milwaukee Brewers but doesn’t seem to be able to close anything since he made the switch to his newest home, none of the Texas relievers have found any sort of consistency when they’ve needed it the most.

When the playoffs come around there’s no question that bullpens matter. They matter a great deal. But here’s where I will go out on a limb and say something that a lot of others aren’t willing to say, especially those on the radio who flip on this topic more times than a pancake at IHOP.

The bullpen can get the job done when the playoffs come around.

Dyson scares you in the 9th and lately Bush hasn’t exactly given you the warm fuzzies when he takes the mound in that big inning either. But what reliever can put together their best performance when the temperature on the field is upwards of 110 degrees? Do you think any athlete can bring their best effort when the summer sun, not to mention the Texas humidity, sucks the life out of you after only a few minutes?

Think about working in the yard in those kind of conditions, then think about holding a baseball and trying to strike a guy out, or at the very least trying to get him out at all. Think you could do that on a consistent basis?

Me neither.

What I do know is what I believe to be true about these guys when the most important part of the season rolls around and the weather cools off. When you aren’t having the life sucked out of you by mother nature I would imagine you would be able to put together a more consistent effort. And that’s what I believe to be true about this bunch coming out of the bullpen.

Bush will get his nasty stuff and high 90’s fastball into gear. Sam Dyson will have his focus squarely on the guys he needs to get out in the 9th inning to preserve a win. And the rest of the group will pick up the slack where they’re needed. That’s what I believe will happen because this team is in too good of a position to let it slip away the moment they get to the most important stretch of the entire 2016 season.

There’s no one who will tell you the Rangers will walk away not holding the AL West crown again. There is no one who will tell you that this Texas team won’t be in the playoffs.

The only thing we don’t know is what will happen from there. It’s all up to the opinion of just about everyone who’s involved in the conversation around every water cooler in the metroplex.

I don’t need a computer screen to tell me what team is better than the other and I especially don’t need it when the eye ball test tells me the Rangers are one of the best teams in the American League. I don’t care if they’re lucky, I don’t care if you can’t explain how this team is where they are. The only thing I care about is the scoreboard and the standings at the end of each night and where it stands at the end of each season.

Your opinion is great, and so is mine, but sports isn’t based off what a computer tells you and often times it’s not the eye ball test either. It’s based off what happens on the field. Luck comes into it, but if a team wins, no matter the score, that’s the only thing that matters.

The San Francisco Giants weren’t supposed to beat the Rangers in the World Series. They weren’t even supposed to have gotten that far. Except, they not only got their they won.

At the end of the day that’s all that mattered to them, their fans, and the city itself.

At the end of the season, if the Rangers celebrate their very first World Series title, that’s all anyone in this town will care about.

About Todd Kaufmann

Growing up in San Diego, CA, Todd made the move to Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas in the spring of 2008. Since then, he has covered events such as the Byron Nelson Classic, the Colonial Tournament, the AT&T Cotton Bowl, numerous home games for the Texas Rangers as well as high school football around the metroplex. You can also find some of his written work in the weekly Prosper Times and monthly Prosper Magazine. He and his wife Kerri make their home in Little Elm, Texas with their daughter, Hannah, and yellow lab, Ranger. Contact: Website | Facebook | Twitter | More Posts

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