The Texas Rangers have had my brain in a pretzel all year, but I finally un-pretzeled my brain. I think. Let me explain.
If you’ve been following my MLB stuff this year, then you know I’m a BIG run differential guy. Huge. It’s not the end all, be all, but I put a lot of stock in it to forecast which teams are for real, and which teams are going to fade out.
If run differential carries as much weight as I think it does, then what can we conclude about what we see here? For one, what I’ve been saying all year long, the Baltimore Orioles are not that good. All the credit in the world for hanging in there for as long as they did, but they were big time overachievers, and that’s never been more apparent than these last two months when they’ve had the 22nd best record in the MLB (25-30). So, if the Orioles are a fraud team because they have a +9 run differential, then how the hell do the Texas Rangers have the best record in the American League with the same run differential? Here’s how:
After Rougned Odor murdered this two-run walk-off homer last night to basically bury the Seattle Mariners’ playoff chances, the Rangers improved to 30-8 in one-run games this season, which is the best record in one-run games in modern history. That’s how. The Texas Rangers have won 38% of their games this year by one run. That’s astonishing. But that’s not even the most impressive part about all of this. You look at their historic record in one-run games, and you probably figure, wow, they must have an unreal bullpen. Nope! Their bullpen fucking sucks. They have the worst bullpen in the American League by ERA (4.75). Don’t look at me — I have no idea how they’re doing what they’re doing. It defies all logic. All I know is that they’re doing it.