Of ex-Rays, gutting it out, and castle-storming.

cas·tle doc·trine

ˈkas-əl ˈdäk-trin

noun

American legal doctrine that designates a person’s abode as a place in which that person has certain protections and immunities permitting him or her, in certain circumstances, to use force (up to and including deadly force) to defend against an intruder — free from legal responsibility/prosecution for the consequences of the force used.

antonym: Whatever the word is for going an entire six-game homestand without having a lead in any one game at any one point . . . a stretch over which the club fails to hit a home run, the longest such streak at home since before Rangers Ballpark opened and in fact since before Nolan Ryan joined the Rangers as a player . . . losing two straight home series of at least three games each for the first time since 1973, a 105-loss season in which Texas was managed by Whitey Herzog, Del Wilber, and Billy Martin.

Cleveland beat the White Sox yesterday for the 12th straight time, pulling to within a half-game of Texas and Tampa Bay, who at the moment hold down the two American League Wild Card spots, with the Rangers owning home field for now given their 2-1 edge over the Rays in head-to-head competition going into the four-game series that starts tonight at Tropicana Field.

Reach back for happier times and you might recall that, in 2010, in the Rangers’ first playoff series in a baseball generation, Texas and Tampa Bay went the distance in their best-of-five ALDS — and the road team won every single game.  In 2011, when the two clubs met again in the ALDS, the road team won three out of four.

Fast-forward to the present and you might feel that heading back out on the road might be the best thing for the Rangers, regardless of any history with the Rays.

Cleveland visits Kansas City for three starting tonight, and with both of those clubs chasing Texas and Tampa Bay there’s this interesting note, courtesy of ESPN’s Buster Olney:

In that Indians-Royals game, the starting pitchers are slated to be ex-Ray Scott Kazmir and ex-Ray James Shields.

In tonight’s Rangers-Rays game, the starters will be ex-Ray Matt Garza and current Ray Alex Cobb.

Fourteen games left.  Texas visits Tampa Bay for four and Kansas City for three before returning home for three against Houston and a season-ending four against the Angels.

Tampa Bay hosts Baltimore for four once Texas leaves town, and then travels to New York for three and Toronto for three.

After Cleveland finishes in Kansas City, it’s home for four against Houston and two against the White Sox before heading to Minnesota for four to finish its regular season.  That’s sort of scary.

I suppose you can’t ignore the Orioles and Yankees and their own chase for a Game 163, but I choose not to because if the Rangers let one of those teams back in, it will mean this tailspin will have continued and that’s something I’m not willing to get my head wrapped around.  If instead it’s the Rays and Indians who let Baltimore or New York overtake them and the Rangers are faced as a result with a win-or-go-home game against one of those AL East clubs, fine.  Absolutely fine.

Look, I’m as numb as anyone right now.  I can’t understand what has happened to this team, which has immediately followed a historically great 22-6 run of baseball with a stunning 3-12 nosedive.

But there are two weeks of games left on the schedule, and Texas is a playoff team at the moment.  “The Newsroom’s” season ended last night.  The Rangers’ season didn’t.

Looking at my email and Twitter timeline, it’s evident that there are some of you who are done with the 2013 Rangers.  Giving up.

Seriously?

Think back to that dominant 22-6 run that immediately preceded this deflating 3-12.

Nothing’s over.  Gut this thing out.  If 162+ happens, chances are it will be because this team again started playing baseball worth watching, when it matters most.

Jon Daniels: “We’re either going to get it done or not.  But I’ll always bet on our guys.”

Maybe this works out, maybe it doesn’t.  Maybe you don’t choose to bet on our guys, maybe you do.  But we’re staring at the final two out of 26 weeks, with no breaks in the action, and with nothing but urgent baseball, and some of you are walking away?  Look at all but three of the 38 seasons from 1972 through 2009 for a quick little reminder of where this franchise used to always be at this point.  Look at 2010 and 2011, and even 2012, and appreciate where this franchise is.  There will be a day — probably a lot of years from now, but it will happen — when with two weeks left on the schedule the baseball season really will be over.  That day is not today.

It’s time to storm someone else’s castle.  For those of you who have turned in your ball card for the season, the rest of us will let you know how it turns out.

 
title_authors

Jamey Newberg

Dallas attorney Jamey Newberg has been commenting on Rangers from the big club down through the entire farm system since 1998.

Scott Lucas

Scott Lucas was born in Arlington, Texas, to Richard and Becky Lucas. He lived mostly in Arlington before moving to Austin, where he graduated from The University of Texas. Scott works for Austin Valuation Consultants, Ltd., and has published several boring articles about real estate appraisal and environmental contamination. He makes a swell margarita and refuses to run longer than ten kilometres.

Eleanor Czajka

Eleanor grew up watching the AAA Mudhens in Toledo, Ohio. A loyal Ranger fan since 1979, she works "behind the scenes" at the Newberg Report.

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