What is your opinion of the A.J. Pierzynski signing?
MJH on accountability
It's time to recognize that making the playoffs is not a given. The offense has been in a malaise for long enough to warrant serious concern and the rotation is relying on BP-Oswalt and Scooter Feldman.
This thing is in real trouble.
I have been saying this for a month. I am sick and tired of people talking about how they the 1st, 2nd, 3rd best record in the league. Lets stop talking about the last 3 months and realize the next 2 are going to prove to be very difficult. It is this is a mentally weak team, that needs to shake up the starting rotation (add ogando remove oswalt), and find their bats quick.
I have also long pushed that notion. While it seems more likely than not that we'll still make the postseason one way or another, it's certainly not a guarantee, not for anyone. Remember last year when the Red Sox were a shoo-in as late as September when they were 9 games up on Tampa Bay? Yeah, that could be the Rangers this year.
This is not a post about doom and gloom about the Rangers not making a big splash at the trade deadline, nor am I suggesting that the way the Rangers have played lately, there's no chance for them to make it. This is simply about not taking anything for granted. Even Yankee fans shouldn't assume they can't miss out, because they can.
Now it's time utb?
I never once just assumed the Rangers would make the playoffs. While it always seemed likely and would be a surprise......it was never a certainty. Many, many teams have lost 5, 6, 7, 8 game leads....in August! So, the assume before then, when the lead was never more than 7, would have been very, very presumptive. Just ask Bosox or Braves fans from last year.
Its definitely not a guarantee. I've been worried since after the 2010 season, and especially after last season going to the WS two years in a row, that we might hit a lull after playing alot of extra high intensity games. Thats also why I really havent worried too much yet this year because my thinking was if they can coast and recharge their mental batteries during the first half, and then get it going after the AS break when you really need to start hitting on all cylinders that would be best. Unfortunately, that hasnt happened. Especially offensively. With the way our offense is playing, I dont think josh johnson or josh beckett are going to make that much of a difference and IMO arent worth the price tags. I dunno...if there was someone really available that got me excited I may be annoyed about standing pat. But as it is, I understand their thought process.
I agree - but it appears that many out there still fall into the "I'm not worried about the regular season...I'm just concerned about the playoffs" camp.
Right now, Harrison is the only consistent starter that Texas has. That is not good. I still think that the offense will return to form (at least somewhat), but I just don't see how this rotation is going to do anything other than tread water.
LAA now runs out Greinke, Weaver, CJ and Haren. I don't see that group going through too many extended losing streaks.
Big trouble in little Arlington.
I agree, I've seen many posts stating something similar to what you just said..."I'm not worried about the regular season...I'm just concerned about the playoffs"...and adding a "Wake me up in October" comment here and there.
You're also right that Harrison is the only consistent starter, and I think he's due for some bad outings.
I said this a couple of days ago (and was chastised for saying it by one person in particlular), but I'll say it again...if one thinks the AL West isn't up for grabs, they haven't been paying attention the past several weeks.
utb, you're BBTIA's pessimist in residence. As bad as you think the Rangers are, you do realize that they have a 4 game lead in the division with roughly 60 games to go.
Baseball Prospectus has the Rangers odds of making the playoffs at 98.3%, and the Rangers odds of winning the division at 79.1%. The Angels odds of winning the division are at 18.7%.
What do you know that Baseball Prospectus doesn't?
Not to piss on the party but what do you think baseball prospectus had the Red sox at last year with their massive lead that they blew? 100%?
Well. odds are that Darvish pitches very well in enough games. or Cruz has a torrid stretch, or Hamilton has an even hotter stretch, or (MY or Kinser or insert whatever currently bad performer) receded more to average performance instead of losing performance.
IMHO, the only way the Rangers miss the playoffs is if 3 of whatever 5 constitutes the rotation the rest of the way have a Red Sox rotation '11 level of suck for the next two months. That is possible but highly unlikely.
WOW...so because the Angles scored 12 runs on ROOKIE relievers you all can't see that some big bats for Texas came alive last night? Hamilton may have gotten back on track, as well as long balls from Nap and Nelly...I see a win sreak comming now. Jump ship if you think we're in real trouble, but I bet you'll be back on the wagon in October.
@merkin25: actually yes, BP at one point had the Red Sox' playoff chances so high that they rounded up to 100%. Just in case anyone thought a projection system couldn't fail...
Sigh. Panic time will set in if the August Rangers play like the June/July Rangers. I see this team catching fire and blowing away the AL West.
Projection system's aren't perfect. But they are the best prediction tools that we have. They certainly are better than the gut feelings of a group of pessimistic fans whose opinions are colored by recency bias.
There are no guarantees in baseball. We could lose 5 star players to injuries over the next week. But no one on this site has the ability to predict that sort of calamity. To my knowledge, Baseball Prospectus is the best projection product available. And it has the Rangers as a virtual lock for the postseason. If someone wants to dispute that, that's fine. But if you want to convince others, you have to give some very good reasons as to why your projection is better than Baseball Prospectus.
And for those using the 2011 Red Sox as the evidence that Baseball Prospectus can't be trusted, here's my response. The 2011 Red Sox had a melt down of historic proportions. Baseball Prospectus didn't predict that, but neither did anyone else. And even with the historic meltdown, the Red Sox barely missed the postseason. It came down to the last day of the season.
So if you want to predict that the Rangers will have a meltdown of historic proportions similar to that of the 2011 Red Sox, that's fine. It may happen. The only thing that I can say is that the odds of that happening are very, very low. Not being a pessimist and preferring to enjoy the remainder of the season, I'm going to go with the odds, which suggest that the Rangers are very, very likely to make the postseason. As for what will happen once we get there, I have no idea.
i don't think anyone is jumping ship. We are just stating that given the poor baseball that is being played coupled with 2 moderately hot teams behind the rangers what we thought at the end of may regarding this rangers team my not be the case. I know its the cool thing to call everyone out about how they are jumping ship and how if this works out like we all think (and hope) it will, you will be the 1st one to post how silly this whole post was. the facts are the facts, Halos and A's are playing way better baseball than the rangers and while panic might not be the right word, there is a lot to be concerned about, and in turn October baseball is never a given.
@RFan: my only point was, the 100% was deceiving. Until there's an x by the team in the standings, the chances are less than 100%. 99.9% would have been sufficient to tell people that, yes, there's still a chance they could blow it.
You can call it pessimism. I don't.
From BP's website: "Are changes in a team' composition, such as from trades or promotions of big prospects, reflected in the Playoff Odds?
BP only considers team performance up to this point in the season and projects outwards. It doesn't account for roster changes, injuries, etc...It's simply a formula based on past performance, regressed to the mean and then projected forward.
So as to "what I know that BP doesn't?" I know that BP's projections were based on LAA's season production that included a group of spares as their 5th starter and not Zach Greinke. I also know that BP's Rangers projections are based on a significant part of the Rangers' season production that occurred prior to Lewis and Feliz going down. BP's playoff odds do not "know" that information.
LAA has added one of the best starters in baseball to their rotation while Texas has lost: 1) it's most effective/consistent starter for the season and; 2) it's fifth starter (probably for the season).
That changes things.
@utb: I have to agree, this changes things significantly. If, for example, Trout had a season-ending injury today, who wouldn't agree the Angels' chances go down a few points? There's no one that could come close to replacing him. Could we replace Beltre, for example, if he were out? Probably not, but Olt could probably come closer to that than anyone the Angels have would for Trout.
@utbI disagree with you a lot, but anybody who is taking a playoff berth for granted right now is not in their right mind. Too many things can happen down the stretch, and the 2011 Red Sox are evidence of that.
I'm not quite in panic mode yet, but now that it looks like there won't be a savior coming at the trade deadline, it is rather obvious that several players are going to have to step up their games or that playoff berth could be in danger of slipping away.
In the end, though, I've seen this team step up so many times before that I have faith that they will do it again. And I'm going to enjoy watching these last two months of the regular season. Hopefully..
Don't forget that the Angels are playing with a 4 man offense. Unless Pujols keeps it up (which isn't totally unreasonable), Trout continues to post a 1+ OPS (not likely at all), and Trumbo cruises along at .950 OPS (somewhat more likely, but still has to be significantly less than a 50/50 chance) they are going to have trouble keeping up, regardless of how wonderful that rotation is. The only guys they have that are likely to improve their offensive production are Kendrick and Callaspo, and if they do, it won't be anything like Albert's turnaround. The '83 Rangers led the AL in ERA (by a wide margin, no less) and finished with a losing record.
Michael Young's OPS is .640, and I think we're all aware of how dreadful that is. Wilson/Ianetta at catcher are .609/.704, Kendrick at 2nd is .691, Aybar/Izturis at SS are .666/.641, Callaspo at 3rd is.672 and Wells/Bourjos in the OF are .670/.615
They have 5 guys who might be able to outhit Young (or out catcher if Napoli isn't behind the plate), but nobody else in the Ranger lineup. They have SERIOUS offensive problems, and it's from guys who haven't been able to hit their whole career, not just the past two months. If the Rangers continue to fold like 7-2 offsuit, then yes they're screwed. But winning when half your lineup can't hit...they'll need us to collapse to win it.
"Projection system's aren't perfect. But they are the best prediction tools that we have.'
I don't necessarily agree. Those projections systems are just odds. They don't take account of changes in the environment. These are things the projections systems don't know:
1. Rangers have been the worst offensive team in baseball for the last 30 days2. Angels recently added to their talent level, thus improving their relative competitiveness3. Rangers have suffered severe injuries to pitching staff, thus putting them at a relative disadvantage
Humans can and do take such things into account.
Consider this scenario...imagine after 50 games one team is 40-10 and the other is 20-30, leaving the second team 20 games out of first place. The projection system would probably give the first team a 98-99% chance of finishing with the better record.
Now, after games 51 - 100, the first teams record is 65-35, while the second team's record is 60-40. The first team is still 5 games ahead of the second team, but has yielded 15 of the 20 game lead. The reason is team A lost their five best players and team B added two significant contributors.
A human could reasonably extend the trend, based on things like talent acquisition, injuries and recent performance, and predict the second team finishing with a better record. But the statistical projection system doesn't take any of those things into account, and continues to predict a better finish for the first team.
You can't tell me the projection system is, in such a case, the best projection tool.
utb, according to ZIPS, Greinke added 1 maybe 2 wins over the rest of the season for the Angels. His presence may make a big difference in the playoffs, but it won't have much of an effect on the regular season simply because he's not going to pitch that many innings and LA wouldn't have lost all of the games pitched by the pitcher he replaced.
Feliz has been out for a while now, so losing him is at least partially incorporated. Not to mention the fact that we've had half a dozen other players out who are currently back or on their way back.
You trust your gut. I'll trust Baseball Prospectus's calculation, which are based on over 100 games worth of data from this season.
"Humans can and do take such things into account."
Correction: Humans THINK they can and do take such things into account.
The Baseball Prospectus odds are based on 100+ games of data from the current season. The Zach Greinke signing and the loss of Lewis might affect the odds by a few percentage points. But the Rangers have a 98.3% chance of making the playoffs. Even if you knock 10 percentage points off that number (which I suspect is too much), those are still good odds.
With all due respect, you all can keep on thinking that your guts are smarter than sabermetrics. That's up to you. I have no reason to trust your intuitions. In fact, I know that human intuition is biased by such things as recency bias and psychological coping mechanisms such as pessimism. So I have every reason to doubt your intuitions, especially when they conflict so greatly with the data. So I'll stick to the unbiased data.
You can keep on thinking that the Rangers are a mediocre team and the Angels are the greatest thing since sliced bread. It's just not true. As a team, the offense has been underperforming expectations recently. I have no reason to think that won't turn around. Neither do you. We've had a bunch of guys hit the DL all at once. And despite all the hemming and hawing about how the sky is falling and about how Mike Trout is the next Willie Mays, the Rangers have a 4 game lead over the Angels and the 4th best record in baseball.
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