These things almost always end in defeat.
Jon Daniels’ dismissal wasn’t unfair. The club is headed for a sixth consecutive losing season. Even with their checkered past, the Rangers had never suffered more than four in a row until 2021. The worst stretches of 486 games (3 full seasons), 648 (4), and 810 (5) in franchise history are all inclusive of 2022 and prior years. Thank goodness for my dark sense of humor. And gin.
For all the highly regarded prospects I’ve covered over the years, the number of homegrown prospects who have performed well in a Texas uniform is distressingly low. Maybe Josh Jung, Justin Foscue, and the Vandy guys will change that. To some extent, where the wins comes from doesn’t matter, as long as you’re winning, but the Rangers’ development of and success with players originally signed by the club is an ongoing struggle, and more victories on that front might have extended Daniels’ stay. For the most part, the players that made Texas competitive over the years have come from trades and free-agent signings.
I don’t want to be internally inconsistent. If the higher-ups didn’t think Woodward was the guy, best to make the change now. The same applies to Daniels. But the timing is baffling. I thought Daniels deserved the chance to see through the rebuild, but I would have understood if Daniels had been let go after any of the previous four seasons, and a backwards step in 2023 would almost certainly have meant the end. Particularly after the Woodward firing, I thought going forward that responsibility had nowhere else to be assigned but the very top.
But firing him in mid-August? After the draft, after the trade deadline, more than two-thirds into a transitional season, disappointing but certainly improved? When the team is headed for a record close to expectations (mine, anyway) and that record is badly skewed by slew of one-run losses? And with everyone seemingly caught off guard, including successor Chris Young? I remain dumbfounded.
The new stadium looms over the proceedings. Daniels might have begun the rebuild in earnest earlier if not for the need to fill seats in Globe Life. Texas attempted to thread the needle in 2020, trying to compete in the midst of a quasi-rebuild. As ludicrous as it sounds in retrospect, I gave the Rangers about a one-in-three chance of making MLB’s expanded postseason in 2020. They weren’t good, but with a short schedule and a little luck they could contend and perhaps make a helpful trade or two to secure an eight seed. They in fact started that season 10-9 before collapsing into the worst stretch since the early 1980s and the worst single season since 1973.
So: defeat. But not failure. No, Texas didn’t win a championship during his tenure, but he assembled a championship-level club. The late evening events of October 27, 2011 were beyond his control. He had a all his chips in the pot with four of a kind, and the opponent drew the one card to make a straight flush on the river. Even after that heartache, the Rangers were the best team in baseball for most of 2012. Then, well, things got weird.
I mentioned the franchise-worst strings of games earlier. Let’s turn that around. In late 1978 and into 1979, Texas had a stretch of 21 wins in 23 games. In every longer stretch, from 24 to 1,000 (as high as I’ve calculated), the most wins occurred during Daniels’ reign. In the 162 games ending June 30, 2012, the Rangers were a franchise-best 105-57. Five of the team’s eight 90-win seasons, four of the seven division titles, all but one of the postseason victories, and both World Series appearances occurred while he was in change. He didn’t do it alone, of course, but the team’s success was because of him, not in spite of him.
I’m grateful for his time with the Rangers and wish him the best in what comes next.
AAA: Round Rock 1, El Paso (SDG) 2
Round Rock: 5 hits, 1 walk, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 8 walks, 7 strikeouts
Record: 60-54, 5.5 GB
SP Cole Winn: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 7 BB, 2 SO, 101 P / 49 S, 5.62 ERA
RP Fernery Ozuna: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 1 SO, 5.40 ERA
3B Josh Jung: 2-4, 2B, .424/.486/.999
San Diego knuckler specialist Michael Waldron’s two best AAA starts out of nine have come against the Express. In five innings, he faced only two batters with a runner in scoring position and allowed one hit, to Josh Jung, who singled.
San Diego closer Jose Castillo doesn’t haven’t exceptional velocity (92ish) but sells the heck out of a low-80s slider. He fanned six of seven batters and allowed one hit, to Josh Jung, who doubled.
Cole Winn became the first Texas minor leaguer to reach 100 pitches this season and the first to walk seven, exceeding the six thrown by Zak Kent once and Winn himself twice.
AA: Frisco 1, at Corpus Christi (HOU) 3
Frisco: 3 hits, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 1 walk, 13 strikeouts
Record: 23-19, 2 GB, 59-52 overall
SP Cody Bradford: 5.2 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 1 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 7 SO, 88 P / 61 S, 5.38 ERA
RP Joe Corbett: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 3.38 ERA
LF Trevor Hauver: 2-4, HR (1)
I forgot to mention Texas had promoted Trevor Hauver to Frisco. Last August, he, Josh Smith, and Ezequiel Duran were teammates in Hickory following the Joey Gallo trade. Hauver is in the middle of the three in age but has the least pro experience, drafted during the covid-wrecked 2020.
High-A: Hickory 7, Winston-Salem (CHW) 0
Hickory: 9 hits, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts
Opponent: 1 hit, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
Record: 21-24, 10 GB, 59-52 overall
SP Mason Englert: 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 HBP, 3 SO, 84 P / 51 S, 3.38 ERA
RP John Matthews: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 4.36 ERA
CF Evan Carter: 1-2, 2 BB, .288/.385/.486
DH Chris Seise: 2-4, 2 2B, SB (8), .242/.310/.396
A one-out single in the 9th foiled Hickory’s third no-hitter of the year and second in a span of seven games. Mason Englert was superb once again, running his hitless streak to 14.1 innings. He’s in a six-outing stretch reminiscent of Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland a dozen years ago, but with even fewer hits: 31.2 innings, 6 hits, 6 walks, 36 strikeouts, an opposing line of .059/.129/.109.
Low-A: Down East 12, Myrtle Beach (CHC) 4
Down East: 12 hits, 4 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 4 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 24-21, 4.5 GB, 57-54 overall
SP Emiliano Teodo: 4 IP, 2 H (1 HR), 2 R, 3 BB, 6 SO, 63 P / 39 S, 3.13 ERA
RP Jose Corniell: 5 IP, 2 H (1 HR), 2 R, 1 BB, 6 SO, 5.34 ERA
CF Daniel Mateo: 2-5, 2B, .271/.316/.412
2B Cam Cauley: 2-4, 2 2B, BB, SB (31), .209/.313/.291
LF Yosy Galan: 1-4, 2B, HBP, SB (15), .212/.301/.424
1B Abi Ortiz: 2-3, BB, .207/.288/.335
Per Baseball America’s Josh Norris, an eyewitness: “Emiliano Teodo is breaking out the silly stuff tonight. Up to 101 in the third inning with ~3,000 rpm, low 90s hammer breakers.”
Yosy Galan has four homers, four doubles, and four walks this month. And a single. He’s hitting .158/.234/.439.
Lightning cancelled the Rangers’ game against the one team that can catch them in the standings, reducing the magic number by one. The Rangers lead by four with four to play.
Five Years Ago Yesterday
Tied at three in the 8th against division-leading Buies Creek, Down East’s Ti’Quan Forbes and Preston Scott homered back-to-back. The Woodies still trailed by 6.5 with 15 to play.