Most importantly, this happened:
After taking three of four, the Mariner now need a miracle akin to resurrection to get back in the race. And I've never believed in zombies. If nothing else, one of the terrific early successes of this season is the fact that the Mariners are now getting fit for a casket.
- The Rangers are tied for second in baseball with the most wins at home. Which makes sense as the Ballpark is a hitter's paradise and the Rangers are an offensive juggernaut. Wait, what? You need new talking points, national media.
- As Robbie mentioned, the Rangers run differential in this series was equal to that of five wins. That's amazing. What makes it less amazing is the fact that the Rangers can only count three wins in the standings. A part of the reason that is so is because on Monday, they didn't even try. For reasons unknown, Ron Washington emptied his bench against the best starter in the American League, Cliff Lee. While the odds of winning against Cliff Lee at full strength were not as great as they were in the other games of the series to begin with, the reason for that is because Cliff Lee is doing amazing things this year and is a great pitcher. The Rangers didn't need to give him a helping hand. Cliff Lee already has all of the helping hands that he needs, namely his left one. I don't see how going forward, this team, with the goal set on winning the division, can decide to give away games before they even start. Cliff Lee or no Cliff Lee.
- As bad as it felt to feel like your team gave up on you, it felt almost equally as good when they came back out the next night and took it to Felix Hernandez. Cliff Lee isn't going to be a Mariner for very much longer, which is good, because he's great and does great things ever five days, but Felix Hernandez is going to be a Mariner for a long, long while and the idea that him having one of the worst starts he's had in years came on a night that his team might have needed a more traditional Felix start to allow themselves to leave Texas with some kind of hope is just the fat wad of icing on the cake. It was so much delicious icing. I gained weight just watching that game.
- I miss Nelson Cruz. When he is injured I feel like a housewife sneaking a look out of the window every time she hears a car coming up the street.
- The stories of Justin Smoak's death as a prospect and Major League ready hitter were greatly exaggerated. Contrary to the belief of some impatient people in the area, and perhaps even those a bit forgetful of the learning curve rookie hitters face in the big leagues, Smoak isn't lost at the plate. He is hitting .400/.514/.667 in 30 June at-bats. That's a small sample size, sure, but it relays the idea a lot of people in the "stay patient on Smoak" crowd have been saying about Smoak during his struggles, Smoak has found a rabbit's foot that works. The luck is turning his way. In April/May his BABIP was an incredible .118. Smoak has been hitting the ball hard since he was called up, his walk rate is stable at around 15% and his line drive percentage has been stable at around 27% for about six weeks now. The difference? Balls are missing gloves. In June, his BABIP is at .450. The luck will normalize and we'll get a better idea of what Justin Smoak is going to be going forward, but right now, Smoak is becoming far more of an asset than he is a concern.
So what did we learn?
Vlad does bad things professionally: