Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.
You keep saying to yourself that things can only get better from here, that the Rangers can recapture the spark that left them with nine wins after their first ten games and shrug off the difficulties that have left them with a very disappointing 27-33 record since, that they're still odds-on favorites to win the division title ... and then you're not quite sure what to do with yourself when things don't play out in that way. You're well acquainted with the "baseball is a marathon, not a sprint" axiom, but you don't expect the Rangers to check out early against the Yankees. You're aware that this wasn't supposed to be an easy fight, but you expected something more compelling than outright mediocrity at best from each team in the division and, frequently, just damn ugly baseball to watch.
I have a theory that the frustration (and, increasingly, apathy) being expressed about this team right now stems from more than mere disappointment at its underperforming tendencies, or the failure to measure up to its heightened expectations. No, the thing that's especially frustrating about this team right now is that it doesn't currently look like it would have a prayer of a chance in a post-season setting if the post-season began tomorrow, and that it's so unclear whether everything will round into necessary form by the time Texas is (hopefully) ready to compete for a championship in three and a half months' time. There doesn't look to be another Cliff Lee-type magic bullet out there for acquisition this time around, and, outside of C.J. Wilson and Alexi Ogando (both of whom must remain healthy), there is a notable lack of star-level production working for this thing right now.
I don't know. My mind is still telling me that the only significant flaw in this team right now is its bullpen, which I fully expect the front office will address in an aggressive manner, and which may receive a pre-deadline boost from the apparently close returns of Darren O'Day and Scott Feldman. (Two of Yoshinori Tateyama, Arthur Rhodes, Dave Bush, Michael Kirkman and Mark Lowe are going to feel the blades of the roster-pruning shears when they finally do make it back). My mind is telling me that an easier schedule on the horizon and the inevitable uptick will bring an end to this dissatisfaction, and that there's still a lot to like here ... but there's also something about this team that will continue to bother me even after those days of prosperity return, and I just can't put my finger on what that is.