Billy Beane once talked about the divisibility of the regular season into three phases of equivalent size -- the first dedicated to team evaluation and the formation of a consensus on what areas of the team need the most help, the second dedicated to addressing those needs via the trade market, and the third dedicated to post-trade deadline roster tweaking. Beane was, of course, speaking from the perspective of a hardened baseball executive; however, baseball analysts and fans alike necessarily view the regular season in a different manner from that of baseball decision-makers, and I get the sense that our own perceived second phase of the regular season has just now begun.
Let me explain why I think that, and what it really means: I think of the beginning of that second phase as the point when the last remnants of excitement over the regular season's first couple of weeks have disappeared, when that initial wobble in the division standings has stabilized and reality has begun to set in (so much for being on pace to win 145 games after a total of 10 games played), and when the realization hits that the grind of the regular season is upon us. For the lack of a better way to describe it, this is the point where the regular season actually begins to feel like the regular season ... and where even the good games can begin to run together and lose a bit of memorability.
And make no mistake about it -- games don't get much better than this, at least from a baseball purist's perspective. C.J. Wilson rather quietly posted up seven frames of one-hit, nine-strikeout baseball, methodically picking apart the Angels in that way we've grown so accustomed to seeing, and Darren O'Day and Pedro Strop closed the evening out with minimal fuss, while the offense clobbered 14 hits and looked better as a whole than it has at any single point since Josh Hamilton went down last week; in fact, the only starter to go hitless was Chris Davis (0-for-4, 3 K), with recent scufflers Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler collectively reaching base seven times and Adrian Beltre launching a game-breaking three-run homer to Greene's Hill. This really was about as clean as a win can possibly get.
My ultimate point? I'm not sure I have one. What I do know is that there will be plenty of time to pick apart what shortcomings do exist within this roster, and that doing so in the immediate wake of a virtually flawless win simply wouldn't feel right. Sometimes you just feel the need to holster those critical thoughts you've been saving up for a concentrated attack and simply be at peace with the great game, and this feels like one of those mornings. If you can't bring yourself to do that, that's fine -- Texas will lose another game soon enough, and the cycle can begin anew. But this is one morning where I cannot muster a negative word about the Rangers, and I'm perfectly okay with doing that.