In the world of baseball rain sometimes comes at the best times and other times it couldn't come at a worse time. Sometimes a team has had a long stretch without a break or is in the midst of rough stretch and could just use an off day. A perfect, yet fictional depiction of that comes in the movie Bull Durham when Crash Davis turns the sprinklers on overnight to ensure a rainout the next day. The Bulls just needed a break and Davis was going to do everything he could to help his team get just that. At the conclusion of the movie when Nuke Laloosh first gets called up to the big leagues he says, "Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and sometimes it rains. Think about that for a while."
Saturday afternoon and night was the real version of "sometimes it rains" in Arlington and now the question is going to be if the rainout came at the best or worst time for a team that still sits with a magic number of three in the American League West. All signs point to the rainout on Saturday coming at a horrible time for the Texas Rangers as they will now have to play a double header the day before a final three games in Oakland to conclude the season.
As Saturday afternoon was carrying on and baseball in Arlington looked like a long shot, the positive news was that the A's had gone to the bottom of the ninth inning down 4-2 with everything looking like the Rangers' magic number would drop to two. Unfortunately, the A's tied the game up and as has become custom in Oakland this season, they took care of business in extra-innings at home and walked away with a 7-4 victory. Once again, they did not give the Rangers any additional breathing room.
The Rangers will now have Yu Darvish facing off against Zack Greinke in the afternoon game which will be followed in the evening with Derek Holland against Ervin Santana. There is no question that Ron Washington and the Rangers will be looking for Darvish to work deep in the afternoon game. Holland only worked three innings in his most recent outing and while he had been absolutely spectacular for the previous month, you just never know if you will be getting "Good Derek" or "Bad Derek." With the day off yesterday, the Rangers could decently handle one mediocre start, but there is not room for two of them.
With the Rangers having struggled recently, losing three of their past four and five of their past eight, the bullpen has already been taxed and a day of rest was not a horrible thing. They have virtually all of their bullpen arms available with the exception of Mike Adams and they should not need another start from Holland or Darvish during the regular season. However, the benefit will only come if the Rangers can get Darvish and Holland to both work deep on Sunday.
There is no question that once the Rangers arrive in Oakland that the A's will be ready to go and the Rangers never wanted the West to go all the way to the wire. They have had a comfortable lead for months now and a double header before the most crucial series of the year is not necessarily what they had in mind. Taking care of as much business as possible on Sunday will put them in much better position that letting it carry over into the final three games.
This double header is really pretty simple. They need solid starting pitching that does not tax the bullpen along with an offense to support that pitching. It is no different than every other game of the year, but without it on Sunday, it could make things even more interesting come Monday.
John Bowman is a lifelong baseball and Texas Rangers fan that loves to ponder the deeper aspects of the game. Some of his first baseball memories involve Arlington Stadium nachos, Charlie Hough's knuckleball, dirt on Pete Incaviglia's uniform and the voices of Mark Holtz and Eric Nadel as he fell asleep.
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