Blame it on my continued peculiar attitude towards the game of baseball, or, more specifically, the Rangers and their accumulation of problems. Blame it on the feeling of relief that comes from actually watching this baseball team win a game clean and mostly drama-free. Or maybe blame it on the alcohol. I don't know. For as much as I love to orient my gaze towards the approaching horizon, tie the future into the present, and talk about what we can expect to see going forward, Tuesday night was a cathartic experience. It was a celebration of unsustainable events that fortunately all happened to swing the Rangers' way. And for a few hours, at least, it feels good to not worry about what the baseball universe may have in store for us tomorrow.
As far as Colby Lewis was concerned, Tuesday night's game was a classic clash of good bottom-line results against sketchy underlying peripherals -- specifically, the absence of swing-and-miss stuff, with the single swinging strike and zero strikeouts both representing his lowest single-start totals since returning to the Rangers last season, and the upside-down ground-to-fly ball ratio of 6-to-16. On a different night, on a night where the atmospheric conditions are less forgiving and the Rangers' outfield defense isn't quite so optimized -- David Murphy, Julio Borbon, and Craig Gentry is pretty damn solid -- and the batted balls find a few more holes, this turns out to be something far less laudable than one earned run in 7.1 innings. In this moment, though, I'm at peace with the fact that Lewis, for the lack of a better term, "lucked out" and effectively chewed up innings in spite of those deficiencies in his start.
And, of course, there was the otherwise-excellent Brett Anderson getting rocked for six hits, four walks, and ultimately four earned runs in just 4.2 innings (which shouldn't keep happening, but is a lot of fun in the meantime), with some of that damage being laid down by a .349/.384/.514-hitting Michael Young. Around this same time a year ago, Young had the visage of a player who was plummeting headfirst into his decline phase -- to put it simply, he wasn't hitting, he wasn't fielding, and it seemed that he may be right on the verge of evolving into an inordinately huge drain on both the active roster and the payroll with nearly four years and more than $50 million remaining on his present deal.
Up to this point in the 2011 season, however, Young has done basically anything and everything with the bat that one could possibly ask of him, and I have absolutely no problem admitting that -- aside from the glowing triple-slash line (his corresponding .395 wOBA is second among all qualifying designated hitters), Young also boasts the ninth-best win probability added total (1.47 WPA) and second-best offensive "clutch" rating (0.94) in all of baseball. I respect that. And, of course, part of the reason why his WPA is so enormous is because so few others are stepping up and grabbing big pieces of the WPA pie, but I'm not afraid to give Young his props for hitting very well over the first 37 games.
I also readily acknowledge that it's all built on the foundation of a wholly unsustainable .392 BABIP and his lowest walk rate (5.0 percent) since 2003, and I have very strong doubts about Young being able to maintain anywhere near this level of production for the duration of the regular season, and I still do wonder what will happen if this year proves to be an offensive aberation and he lands back on the expected aging curve at a future date ... but, hey, you know what? In this moment, I don't care. I want to be able to step back, objectively praise Young for his performance up to this date, and move on.
Sometimes, it's about appreciating the moment for what it is and not being the first to press forward and worry about what tomorrow will bring. I'll probably violate this credo in no time at all and end up labeled as a dirty hypocrite; if that happens, I'm cool with it, but that's really rather immaterial. I'm also cool with you not being inclined to share this same view of things. It is, for one morning at least, all good. And if I at least got you to stop and think for a moment, then I consider my morning objective accomplished.