Rangers Executive Vice President Jim Sundberg sent out a series of tweets tonight. Some of them deal with ticket refunds and the organization's desire to keep a playoff caliber organization in place, but there were some items that I thought were particularly revealing:
What I can say now to START WITH is that while players have not complained those in uniform the last 2 yrs 7 mo have dressed for 600 g.— Jim Sundberg (@backstop10) October 11, 2012
Add that to 7 players playing over 145 g, they ended up fried. Not making excuses just early stepping back and thinking— Jim Sundberg (@backstop10) October 11, 2012
He's right, of course. But there were a lot of us pounding this point home throughout the summer, that the regulars were being ridden hard. Surely others in the organization saw it, as well. But nothing was done about it.
The thing that sticks out at me is the 10th inning of August 5. That was the game in Kansas City where Mike Olt was starting for the third time in four days, and Elvis Andrus left late in the game, with Alberto Gonzalez coming in. Derek Holland gave up 6 runs, the Rangers blew a 5-2 lead, and they went into the 10th tied 6-6.
Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz led off the top of the 10th with back-to-back singles. David Murphy popped out, Mike Napoli walked, then Mitch Moreland hit a weak liner to shortstop. With the bases loaded and 2 outs, Mike Olt worked the count full before striking out on the 7th pitch of the at bat, ending the rally.
Then, in the bottom of the tenth, Michael Kirkman walked Billy Butler. Salvador Perez hit what looked to be a double play ball to Alberto Gonzalez, but Gonzalez booted it, putting runners on first and second. Then Jeff Francoeur hit a hopper to Mike Olt, that looked like it would be a double play, but Olt threw the ball into right field, with the winning run scoring from third.
And after that, it seems like, that was it for the bench. Gonzalez was waived soon thereafter, the Rangers spent much of the month with a three man bench, Olt, after starting three of his first four games, was largely stapled to the bench after that, and even Craig Gentry saw his playing time curtailed. It was as if Ron Washington made the decision, after that inning, that he wasn't going to let guys who hadn't been through the wars lose games for him. It is as if he made the decision that he was going to win or lose with the guys who had gotten the team to that point.
And he ended up losing with them.
Also interesting from Sunny were these tweets about the Wild Card Game:
Did not abandon you last Friday. Per - game clubhouse atmosphere was not good. Did not have confidence in game. Couldn't report.— Jim Sundberg (@backstop10) October 11, 2012
Spent last 5 innings in clubhouse with cooe of people who knew what was about to happen— Jim Sundberg (@backstop10) October 11, 2012
Bryan Dolgin tweeted a couple of days ago that the vibe in the clubhouse was similar to prior to Game 5 of the 2010 World Series, when the Rangers were about to get shut down and knocked out.
One of the things I'd said before was that, if the Rangers couldn't win one game out of three in Oakland or one game at home against Baltimore, I didn't think that there was much chance they would do anything in the ALDS anyway.
There were some responses that that position was nonsensical because there's no such thing as momentum. But it wasn't about momentum. It was about the fact that this team did not seem capable of playing to its capabilities. They looked like the physical and mental grind of the season had taken a huge toll, and a couple of days off probably wasn't going to fix that.
But its interesting that Sunny is basically saying that there seemed to be an expectation that the Rangers were going to lose.