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Will The Texas Rangers Lose 100 games in 2018?

The Hunt For 63 Wins Is On

Texas Rangers v Chicago White Sox Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

Anything can happen in baseball.

This aphorism has been a guiding principle for me as a baseball fan and I’ve seen it come to pass plenty of times. If baseball wanted to fly abroad and needed a passport, it would have to fly under a Swiss passport because baseball is neutral. It doesn’t lean one way or the other, it just....is. So when I say anything can happen in baseball, this means it could be good for your team or it could be bad.

Good: the remarkable success of the 2010 and 2011 Rangers teams.

Bad: the remarkable collapse of the 2010 and 2011 Rangers teams in the end.

Good: the pitching duel by the White Sox’s James Shields and the Rangers’ Doug Fister in game #45 on Thursday night.

Bad: the bottom of the 8th inning for the Rangers, who held a 2-0 lead. Jose Leclerc retired the first two batters of the inning before a ground-rule double, a passed ball, and a throwing error by Leclerc scored a run for Chicago. Then things got really bad: three consecutive walks tied the game at 2. A pitching change didn’t change things (yes, the ump was clearly drunk on homemade hooch) and by the end of the 8th inning, the Rangers’ 2-0 lead had turned into a 4-2 lead for the White Sox. Spoiler alert: that would be the final score, too.

The reactions online to this colossal breakdown by the Rangers were predictably predictable. Fans and beat writers united in their disdain for the whole affair. The loss galvanized us all. But it also brought up the one question that I’ve been dismissing since the first week of the season: will the 2018 Texas Rangers lose 100 games?

I’ve spent the best part of the last two months talking fans off the proverbial ledge whenever they’ve tweeted and/or direct messaged me about this topic. Look, we all know the team is young. We all know the injuries — while not at 2014 levels — won’t help things. We all know the defense is consistently inconsistent. We all know the pitching has, by and large, been spotty at best. We know all these things but still, affixing that scary triple digit number in the loss column in the final projections is enough to make one dry heave.

But could it happen?

I attempted some rudimentary (read: probably very flawed) math this morning. With the premise that the Rangers would continue to fare at the same win-loss rate as their rate after the first 45 games, this is what my (bad) math comes up with:

First 45-games: 17-28

After 90-games: 17-28

After 135-games: 17-28

After 162-games: 11-16

FINAL W/L: 62-100

So, there it is. By my super terribad math, there exists a scenario where the Rangers could, in fact, lose 100 games [dry heaves at office desk].

Do I believe this will play out? No. I think the Rangers can avoid this scenario but if I’m being 100% honest with you all, this is the fan in me speaking. But if I’m being pragmatic about this situation, I have to concede that the team could very well hit and surpass the 100 loss mark.

We have to accept that there could be more injuries coming [dry heaving again]. We also have to accept that as much as Bartolo Colon has been an absolute delight, that sub-3.00 ERA won’t hold up for the rest of the schedule. And since we’re accepting things, we definitely have to accept that the defense will probably get worse, especially if the front office trades a player or two at or before the looming deadline.

But anything can happen in baseball, right? If we’re willing to accept some of the negative outcome scenarios, we would be remiss if we didn’t also accept that the Rangers could very well exceed expectations and actually win enough games to keep that 100 game loss scenario buried deep in the ground. Maybe the soon-to-be 45-year-old Bartolo Colon continues his magical tour-de-force, maybe the offense heats up and the team’s run differential trends positively, and maybe the bullpen goes on an extended shutdown streak.

At this point, we’re at the mercy of the baseball gods, and truth be told, we’ve always been at their mercy. You can only hope enough good things happen for the team and this trends positively for the record as they chase that 63-win mark.