In college I set up Rotisserie Leagues in baseball and basketball in my dorm and, each Tuesday, bought a USA Today on the walk back from campus to the Castilian so that I could dutifully spend a couple hours with a legal pad, writing out the statistics for every player owned in our leagues and doing the math so that, as Commish, I could roll out that week’s standings, because spreadsheets weren’t yet a thing and neither was the Internet, and sometimes you just do what you have to do.
I thought about that as I spent more time than I should have looking at the complete play-by-play for every Rangers game since June 1, because, even though I couldn’t figure out how to auto-generate the results through any online splits analysis, I wanted to see if the bases-loaded results for this offense were as deflating in reality as it’s felt for the last month-plus.
Again, this is a product of a handwritten chart on a legal pad, so if the math is wrong, my bad. (Blown sabe.) But it seems about right.
Since June 1, a stretch during which Texas is 14–14 but has suffered a stack of really ugly bullpen collapses, the lineup has also failed routinely to cash in on bases-loaded situations, baseball’s offensive treasure chest.
In 38 bases-loaded plate appearances over that time, the slash line is an anemic .143/.184/.229. Five base hits, two walks, and one sacrifice fly (one!) in those 38 trips.
And 14 strikeouts.
Wait! Gets better worse.
With the bases loaded and two outs, the Rangers are 5 for 17 with two walks in 19 plate appearances.
And if your reading comprehension is finding the barrel, you know the rest of the story.
Because if the club has five hits with the bases loaded since June 1 . . . and five hits in the subset of those situations when there have been two outs . . . .
With the bases loaded and one out: Texas is 0 for 12 since June 1, with one sacrifice fly.
Two of those 12 outs were double play groundouts, which by definition, of course, were inning-ending.
Another six of those 12 outs were on strikes.
And then there are the robust situations with the bases loaded and nobody out, when the key is . . . well, you know what the key is.
The Rangers have had six such opportunities in these last 28 games.
On June 7, in the first inning at home against the Mets, Nomar Mazara hit a soft two-hopper to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, who started a 6–4–3 that was ultimately overturned, as replay showed that Mazara beat the relay throw to first. It was an 0 for 1, but it produced a run.
That play was followed by a 4U-3 ground ball double play, but that doesn’t factor into this breakdown because the bases were no longer loaded, and Texas lost that game in the ninth inning, 4–3, and that’s not really what this is about, either, though it sorta is.
Aside from Mazara’s fielder’s choice groundout on June 7, Texas hitters have come up with the bases loaded and nobody out five other times since June 1.
Again, done by hand, maybe some of my math is wrong. Would love to believe that it is.
But having watched the last month of baseball, during which the club has won as many as it’s lost but feels like the record could be far better — and not just because of the bullpen issues — the bases-loaded math, sadly, looks about right. Leaving runs on the table isn’t as demoralizing as leaving wins on the table, but that’s a Venn diagram that’s got enough overlap that the relief corp’s isn’t the only failure to execute that we should be bemoaning.