Yesterday evening, Katherine and I attended our fourth Texas Rangers game of the season. The first-place Rangers entered the game with a record of 16-5. Their opponents, the Tampa Bay Rays, entered the game 13-8. These teams met in the American League Division series in 2011, with the Rangers winning, three games to one. Yesterday's game was the rubber game of the series. The Rangers had begun the season with six consecutive series victories. Katherine and I hoped to extend it to seven.
It was not to be. Although the Rangers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a single by Josh Hamilton, starting pitcher Derek Holland gave the run back and more in the second. At the end of three innings, it was 4-1 in favor of the Rays. The crowd of 43,475 was subdued. The Rangers got new life with a run in the fifth, but that was all they could muster the rest of the way. The Rays won, 5-2. I have learned over the years that the Rangers cannot hit good pitching. Okay, sometimes they can, but often they cannot. This does not bode well for the playoffs. To win a World Series, you must be able to score runs off the very best pitchers, such as Tampa Bay's David Price (now 4-1). Yesterday, the Rangers had seven singles. That's not good enough.
It was another beautiful evening at the ballpark. The temperature was in the mid-eighties at game time and a southerly breeze kept us cool. The people sitting next to us had a hand-made sign, but despite holding it up repeatedly, they never got shown on the video scoreboard. We enjoyed the Texas Legends race, ate our fill of nachos and french fries, saw Nelson Cruz throw out a runner at the plate from right field, saw Rangers manager Ron Washington (on his 60th birthday) ejected from the game for arguing, and, sadly, saw Ian Kinsler hit a weak line drive to the pitcher with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning. (A home run would have won it.) The worst thing about the evening is that Josh Hamilton left the game early with an injury. Apparently, it's just a stiff back. We'll see. With Hamilton, the Rangers are one of the best teams in Major League Baseball, if not the best. Without him, they're merely good.
Katherine and I are 2-2 on the season. Steve Burri will say that we jinx the team. Steve Burri will say just about anything.