The Texas Rangers’ bullpen is the best example of October fiendishness

The Texas Rangers’ bullpen is the best example of October fiendishness

We know that October doesn’t have to make sense. It’s not even really supposed to, given that it’s the month of Halloween and we all act like children for a good couple weeks. When summer really dies, the foreboding of winter is on every breeze, and we all tend to lose our minds knowing that we’ll spend the next six months cold and miserable.

But I’ve gotten off on a rant. When it comes to baseball, October doesn’t really have any connection to the six months that came before, other than the teams that have qualified. One needn’t look any further than the Texas Rangers’ bullpen, which put up another eight outs without even a hit interspersed in between them. Jordan Montgomery throwing a gem for 6.1 innings isn’t a huge shock, given how nails he’s been since being traded to the Rangers. But the Rangers relievers suddenly becoming their own Legion of Doom, that’s another instance of the weirdness of playoff baseball.

In the season’s last month, the Rangers bullpen nearly cost them a playoff spot altogether. Josh Sborz, who has thrown 3.1 innings of shutout work from the pen so far in three rounds of the playoffs, had an ERA of two touchdowns in the season’s final month. It was nearly six in August. Aroldis Chapman, who was all of gasoline, lit matches, and old newspapers in September (6.75 ERA, 15 percent walk-rate) has given up a hit in the postseason (though he’s walked four in 3.2 innings and keeps somehow dancing through the raindrops). Cory Bradford and Dane Dunning have been able to throw extended outings from the pen thanks to the destruction that the offense has wrought, which has kept any other firestarter from being exposed. And Jose LeClerc, the only reliever that Bruce Bochy could trust in September, has carried that over.

It certainly helps that the Rangers pen has had to do little work overall, not just from the pen. Sweeping both the wildcard and division round has kept everyone fresh and given everyone days off, while allowing Montgomery and Nathan Eovaldi to throw 31 of the 45 innings they’ve had to play. Get that kind of ratio and it becomes harder and harder for anyone to screw it up.

And they’ll be getting Max Scherzer back at some point, though how many innings he can throw is very much up in the air.

These aren’t different pitchers than they were when they were throwing live grenades as the Rangers rumbled, bumbled and stumbled their way home. Turn the calendar, start over, and suddenly they’re getting everyone for no other reason than baseabll decrees it so. It is not anything anyone could plan for. It is our craziest month.

It happens every fall in the NFL

We’ve gotten to that point in the football season where everything gets a touch goofy. The injuries are piling up, the good teams don’t really have a sense of urgency yet with the playoffs still so far away, but bad teams have to scrap and claw before their seasons slip into the abyss. So you get the Browns beating the Niners, or the Jets beating the Eagles, or whatever it was the Bills and Giants were doing.

Oh, this isn’t interference?

Props to Taron Johnson, who rightly figured that the refs weren’t going to call two straight DPIs at the end of the game.

You also have to hand it to Brian Daboll, who certainly knows how to throw a tantrum when the cameras are on him to absolve himself of blame when it’s his cockup.

This tweet is wrong, because a team’s backup QB shouldn’t have the leeway at the end of a half to switch to a run with not enough time to spike at the end of a half. That should be a clear instruction or well-drilled enough that it shouldn’t even come up.

Just like when Daboll made sure everyone saw him chewing out the helpless Daniel Jones a couple weeks as he kept being Daniel Jones, As if Daboll wouldn’t have had a say in giving him the extension that will hamper the Giants for longer than any of their fans would care to think about right now.

But, hey, if you rant and rave and turn the shade of a nuclear sunset at just the right time, you can deflect just enough blame to keep your seat from getting that same shade. Might also deflect from a certain coach’s decision not to hand the ball to Saquon Barkley on the 1 on an untimed down, given that he’s the best player on the offense and all. That will be Daboll’s hope, at least.

If the new uniform looks like a Duck . . .

How good do these Ducks unis look?

Just wear these all the time, dopes.

Follow Sam on Twitter @Felsgate and on Bluesky  

Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.