The Rangers loss to the Tampa Bay Rays was a tremendous disappointment for students across campus, but Rangers fans have a lot to be proud of from the last year.
The Texas Rangers did limp into the last week of the season, to say the least, but a seven-game winning streak to close out the season showed the resolve that was absent from their team a year ago.
A 5-15 start to the month would have been enough to make most teams fold like a cheap chair and try again next year, but the Rangers put together an impressive last week of the season.
They beat up on the worst team of the decade, the Astros, and the tremendously disappointing Angels to win seven straight games.
However, sweeping two series in a row is difficult no matter who the opponents are.
In fact, the seven-game winning streak to close out the season was the second longest streak this season for the Rangers. If nothing else, Texas finished strong.
Throughout the year, the Rangers fought off adversity that would have been difficult to predict.
Keeping pace with an Athletics team that was more balanced than them and even catching the Rays at the end of the year was impressive because the Rangers were not as good as they had been in the past.
Designated hitter Lance Berkman was unable to escape knee problems that have plagued him for the last five years, which meant that general manager John Daniels made a 10 million dollar investment in a player that was not a factor in the second half of the year.
Daniels countered by acquiring Alex Rios, which, under the circumstances, is the best move he could have possibly made.
Rios hit .280 in his time with the Rangers, which makes him a quality hitter but not nearly the same caliber as a healthy Berkman.
Josh Hamilton also left for the arch-rival Angels, leaving a chasm in left field. Granted, Hamilton only hit around .250 for the Angels this season, but that is still markedly better than the Rangers’ host of left fielders that were unable to come through at the plate.
The Rangers’ pitching staff also fought off injuries the entire year, meaning that only two starters took the ball more than 20 times as a starter the entire year.
The blockbuster trade the Rangers made was an attempt to address that concern, but what most people remember about Matt Garza’s stay in Dallas was a chauvinist Twitter rant and a ballooning ERA.
Offensively, it seemed like the Rangers were always about one hitter short in the second half of the season.
In fact, they were two hitters short. Berkman was hurt and Nelson Cruz was suspended.
It would be difficult to imagine a scenario that is more damaging to an offense than removing an injury to the future Hall of Fame designated hitter and the removal of a perennial All-Star right fielder.
Any team would be in quite a predicament if they lost two quality hitters and could not find healthy pitchers to fill out their rotation.
In fact, what the Rangers accomplished this year should be commended because of their toughness, instead of criticized because they missed the post season.
Winning 91 ball games is an excellent season for a team that was picked by many to finish third in their own division, even before injuries and suspensions made matters worse and hamstrung the team’s depth.
Last year, the Rangers won 93 games with more talent and their collapse was something to be ashamed of.
However, the 2013 Rangers team should be remembered for their resilience in the face of adversity and success despite a drop-off in talent and production.